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Comment from: Shellie - InnkeeperVA [Visitor] · http://www.ClaiborneHouse.net
from Shellie at The Claiborne House B&B in Rocky Mount VA www.ClaiborneHouse.net

What a fantastic blog article and reminder to all of us in the hospitality industry.

We recently had an innkeeper on our forum (www.Innspiring.com) coin the term helicopter-hovering. We all know this too well, as your article described.

I posted a link to your article on that forum, I hope you don't mind. Please join us there as I am sure there will be plenty of feedback and questions. Best, Shellie
02/23/09 @ 15:56
Comment from: Dorothy Frisch [Visitor]
Great timing for me on this topic. I'm just putting together a series of 4 workshops on the profitability of improved customer service for some local restaurants. I agree that the establishment must focus on outcomes, not process, to meet customers' expecations, as everyone has different needs on different occasions.
Flexibility, empathy, and personalized service are key. Also, I have to add that I shop at Safeway and I finally told perky person #4 that, yes I AM FINDING EVERYTHING OK! LEAVE ME ALONE!
02/24/09 @ 16:13
Comment from: Larry Miller [Visitor] Email · http://www.onthegofoodservice.com
Great Topic and your readers gave some great feedback. I have been in convenience retail which to me should sometimes be called "inconvenience retail" but I digress. There should never be anything that would be called "too much service!" Several of your readers mentioned personal responsibility to voice your own personal preferences and know that it is ok to look a bellman square in the eye and say "All I have is this briefcase and this a roll-aboard bag that I have managed to get here to LA, all by myself from New York and while I appreciate your offer of help, I really need to feel that sense of total accomplishment!" Now if you say it with a smile and with a joking lilt to your voice, everything will be OK. He did his job & you did yours!

If you say it like Paris Hilton or Ivana Trump might, with your nose in the air and not a bit of humor infused, my sense is you will be nailed as a bitch. I always try to use a very natural, calm, approach that sets my expectations right up front.

I heard it best lately that it all comes down to hiring the right people and then setting the example for them during their training period. I think it was referred to as "You can't send a Duck to Eagle School! Meaning simply, that trying to teach good customer service to someone who is normally shy, withdrawn, of just plain full of themselves ,is an example of what is meant by a Duck! I see so many people in the service business that you know immediately, should never have been hired for close interaction with others, heck, they don't even like themselves!

Anyway, great topic, it all comes down to picking people whose skills and personalities are aligned with the job employers need done. Unfortunately, a lot of service providers that depend on gratuities for the bulk of their pay, believe that doing exactly what management tells them to do with every customer, no matter what feedback they get from the customer, entitles them to a large gratuity.

Which brings me to My Service Pet Peeve:

Having management print those “reminders” on the bill for dinner that shows 15%, 18%, & 20% pre-calculated amounts - One restaurant had them calculated based on food amount including the tax charged! WOW, That is a new one. Tipping the server cause my legislators put sales tax on my food!!

Larry Miller
02/27/09 @ 13:45
Comment from: Shane Blais [Visitor]
Dear Margie,

I am so sorry to hear that you felt put upon by courtesy.

While many of the comentors on your letter have commented about hovering staff and individuals over eager to please, it does not sound like that is what you suffered from.

Now you do describe a swarm of uniformed young men and maybe that was over the top, but their offer to take your bag was common courtesy.

It is unimportant whether you are capable of carrying or rolling your bag or not. The hotel staff (In a hotel such as this) are to treat all who walk in the door as Ladies and Gentlemen respectively. Whether they are or not. Men who walk up are offered the same service as a Lady. Your polite refusal of this courtesy, was well handled I beleive and as you said they graciosly allowed you to do so.

The conversation that took place at the front desk was cordial and appropriate. In addition obviously something in your conversation lead those attending to your needs to beleive that it would be appropreite to introduce you to the Manager.

In such situations it is up to us to show the same courtesy to those attending our needs as Ladies and Gentlemen. Thus you patiently and cordialy conversed with the Manager even though you were not sure why.

As a courtesy especially to a "Lady" an escort was provided to your room. This is a critical point of etiqutte. The same service is provided to Gentlemen as well. This is also a courtesy that can be turned down graciously.

The full tour as you called it is not a tour but a showing of the room and it's features for your approval. If you find something amiss you can point it out and they can either find better accomadations or immediatly take action to rectify it.

The instruction given on what most of us would consider rudimentory was again a point of courtesy. One never assumes that something is known; if the information is not needed or wanted you politley thank the individual letting him/her know the information is not necessary.

Now remember the staff make a living at providing such services and if we accept such service it is appropriate to provide a gratuity for that service. How much is based on the level of service provided. This is not required, however it is a point of courtesy.

A rule of thumb if you are uncomfortable with such services, or you beleive that the bell hop is only in it for the tip then politly decline the service.
03/03/09 @ 10:52

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