“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” M.Gandhi
I take the risk of stating: good service cannot be learned by
anybody. Period. There are types of
personalities that would never be able to serve at quality levels. They are
just not meant to make others feel good, always, under any circumstances. They don't like to care and think love of others is a weakness. There are others who have the right personality
fundamentals to serve. They are empathetic, attentive, quick, they know how
to listen (and not just pretend), they have decent memory, they are
creative, have good humor, they are extroverted and just love people. They get their energy from others and
not from themselves.
Travelers, and generally those who pay (own) money for any kind of travel related service, expect value. Value in what they see, feel and learn. It’s really down to these three things.
Landscapes, breathtaking views, stunning interiors, inspiring monuments, fascinating traditions and cultural artifacts can do a whole lot to attract tourism, but cannot do it all. They are the hardware of the destination, the preconditions of tourism, but service is what enables them to create economic value. The service is the software. And as is with software it is more prone to bugs, flaws and mistakes. Hospitality unfortunately is more about service than anything else. It's a whole lot about how you felt while there. There are tons of good and bad examples of how service can make or break a business in tourism. I have included here are just a few ideas, and tips to help SELECT, TRAIN and RETAIN your best service people.
|Does he really mean it?|
So the better you are able to select those who have these fundamentals, even if they have never worked in a service job, the better off you are. One can save months of frustration and lost business by avoiding hiring service people who are not meant to serve by design. They typically have very high level of self-confidence and esteem, are impatient and impulsive, they often prefer conflict over compromise, they like to take the bull by the horn, they are critical and skeptical by nature etc. They can be great at many other important things but not at service. Let them strive in areas where they can excel and save them buy the misery of pretending to serve.
There is whole science (preached by expensive consultants and usually practiced with major flaws) of best selecting your employees, but at the end of the day it is an art. That of reading a personality and understanding if it fits in your team or not. Here are some tips that might work: ask the applicant to rearrange the seating in the interview room, or to serve the coffee for themselves. Watch they way they relate to you, to details. Ask them to show you the way to the bathroom, or to explain you the shortest way out from the building, etc. etc. These are situations, where facial expression, gestures, style and approach to helping the other are reviled. It won’t tell you who is the best to hire, but if you have the right feelers, it helps you avoid disasters and save time.
I am not saying anything new by the fact that Oman does have a huge potential in the fundamentals of tourism, but it has to come a long, long way in service. Combining the genuine friendliness and helpfulness of Omanis with consistency and promptness of service will yield the desired results.
Any similar ideas to share? Some more to come on training and retention soon.