Tag Archives: Employee leadership

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Actions speak louderWhen working with businesses on improving their
customer experience and supporting their
customer service training one of the
messages I stress is how our
actions speak louder than words.

Everything you do in your business sends out a message. Not just to your customers, but to your team too.

Being a role model

We all know the importance of being a role model to our team. How we behave towards customers naturally sets the tone for how our team behave towards customers.

It’s not just our daily interaction with customers, but how we regard them in general. Bad mouthing or criticising a customer in their absence will certainly send the message that it’s OK to be rude about customers, or even that customers are a nuisance or interruption to our job, rather than the very reason the job exists.

Putting customers first

How highly you value customers is also communicated through your systems and practices. To what extent are you prepared to put yourself out for the benefit of a customer?

This isn’t just obvious things such as being available for your customers when it’s convenient for them rather than you.  (One of my pet hates is businesses – particularly customer service desks – that only open Monday to Friday 9 till 5 yet they support customers who invariably only have time or access during nonworking hours.)

What really frustrates me is when I see businesses where the powers that be clearly see themselves as being far more important than the customer. If you play golf I’m sure you’ll know what I mean when you see all the plum parking spaces immediately outside the clubhouse being reserved for the committee. Or in corporate offices were there are 3 or 4 empty parking spaces immediately outside the front door reserved for the chief executive and his/her entourage, while visitors have to park way way down the car park (if they can find a parking space at all that is!). Just as insulting is when management park in disabled bays. Just what sort of message does that convey to a customer, and in turn what message does that convey to your team about the importance you place on customers?

It goes far beyond just parking spaces. Simple things such as interrupting a member of staff who is talking to a customer without so much as acknowledging the customer; not trusting team members by delegating authority to do what they think is best for the customer; blaming the customer or quibbling over minor customer disputes. All these send the message we put ourselves before the customer.

Behaviour breeds behaviour

We are all familiar with the mood Hoovers; you know – those days when you come into work full of the joys of spring, and someone comments dryly “what are you so flipping happy about”, sucking all that energy and enthusiasm from you like a Hoover.

Our physiology certainly influences our feelings and the feelings of people around us. In other words if we mooch around all day with shoulders dropped, hands in pockets, expressionless with our head down we’re far more likely to elicit negative emotions, than if we’re smiling, making eye contact and making gestures.

Smiling and laughing make us feel good and happy. And it’s infectious…

The platinum rule

The golden rule is treat others how you would wish to be treated. And that’s certainly a good start. But the platinum rule is treat others how they wish to be treated.

Whenever I hear of managers or business owners complaining about lack of enthusiasm or engagement from their team (which of course is critical if you’re to give customers good service) I like to look at how they are treated by management, and what if anything they are doing to dampen their enthusiasm.

When I ask managers what’s important to their team members it’s usually quite revealing when I get an all too common response of “money and a quiet life”, or “I don’t know”. The former might sometimes be the case but sadly it’s often an assumption. The only reason managers don’t understand this is because they never asked the question.

Spending time with team members and finding out what’s important to them is just as important as your team spending time with customers, finding out what’s important to them.

You are always on duty

When you leave the ‘office’ you don’t suddenly become a different person. In the eyes of your team and your customer you still represent your business. So how any of us behave in the supermarket car park when someone pinches our parking space, or on the dancefloor at the Christmas party, or what we post on social media will still reflect on us, our values and what we see as acceptable behaviour.

This doesn’t mean to say we can never let our hair down or show our personality; it just means remembering everything we do sends a message.

These actions will speak far louder than any words.

Related topics

https://www.naturallyloyal.com/2014/05/building-confidence-in-service-skills/

https://www.naturallyloyal.com/2014/11/power-to-the-people/

https://www.naturallyloyal.com/2014/03/have-you-sussed-what-makes-your-team-tick/

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What we can do to get kids hooked to the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry

 

OK, I’m hooked

If anyone had suggested to me a month ago that I’d devote the best part of a sunny summer weekend to watching road cycle racing in preference to gardening I’d have thought them mad! But that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

Seeing our boys in the Tour de France was the start, and then having the opportunity to be a part of the Olympics right on my doorstep all for the cost of a train fare was too good an opportunity to miss.

The day on Box Hill was perfect; an amazing atmosphere, great weather, brilliant view and not one, not two, but eight chances to see the action on the loop.

Needless to say I was hooked, and was glued to the telly for the entire ladies race on Sunday, despite a hundred and one jobs to do in the garden (and despite what was seen on TV it was actually sunny in Sussex most of the time!).

So what can we learn in business and in particular hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses from this surge of interest in cycling and other sports? 

One of the biggest problems I hear is the concern for a lack of young talent joining the industry. So what can we do to emulate the success of attracting new talent to cycling, athletics, or rowing?

There have certainly been some fantastic role models for the next generation. And what an inspiring idea to have youngsters nominated by some of these past winners to light the Olympic flame.

But the sports have gone far beyond this; rather than waiting for the young talent to come and find them, they’ve been out into schools to find them.

We need to follow suit. And not just leave this to the likes of Springboard. We all need to be doing our bit to fly the flag for the industry and inspire youngsters to want to be a part of it. It won’t happen overnight – most of the youngsters competing for the first time this year have been in training for years. Not all will make it of course, but the earlier we can introduce youngsters to the industry and all it has to offer the more likely we are to leave them with a positive perspective and attract new talent.

Parents, teachers, college lecturers, and careers advisers all have a part to play in influencing future careers. What perception do they have of the industry? Let’s do all we can to educate them and ensure that hospitality, leisure and tourism management is given the profile it deserves.

Establish ambassadors who can generate the passion. Offer work placements to schools and colleges, and make these fun and informative. Organise ‘A day in the life’ and open days for schools, colleges and careers advisers for them to get a real feel for the roles and opportunities, and a chance to talk to those who do the jobs.

Offer work placements for universities that give a structured programme and a really in depth view of the options within hospitality management so once they graduate they stay the course. Feedback from graduates who have experienced work placements in a particular segment of the industry are invariably drawn back to the same disciples on graduation. Without this connection it’s all too easy to stray into other industries if a job of their choice is not immediately forthcoming; potential talent maybe lost to the industry forever.

Let’s put on our own show open to all and give everyone a taste and a chance to be a part of this fantastic industry.

For more articles and resources https://www.naturallyloyal.com/products-resources/

 


How to achieve great customer service – Part 4

Recognition

Recognise and reward staff who go the extra mile and give exceptional customer service. Listen to your guests and acknowledge the feedback they give you and pass that on to your team. This helps both you and your team or to understand what your guests appreciate and value, and help identify where you may be falling short.

Encourage your team to come forward with their own ideas of how customer service can be improved and make every effort to take their ideas on board where appropriate. This gives the team a sense of ownership and pride which will inevitably have a positive knock-on effect on your guests.

 

Lead by example

Your personality is part of the business. Making yourself visible in your hotel and engaging with your guests not only builds rapport and trust with them, but sets the tone and example for your team to follow. If you hide yourself away in the office, or seldom even visit the hotel, this sends the message that it’s okay to hide away from guests.

Talking to your guests is far the best way to get feedback, and they may tell you things that they wouldn’t feedback to your team. Get to know your guests personally; their likes and dislikes, their routine, their suggestions, their network. All this not only builds rapport but makes it a lot easier for you to tailor your offer and service to meet your guests’ needs and expectations.

 

A team effort

Service should be seamless, and to achieve this, the whole team must support one another. Encourage staff to take ownership when necessary, rather than passing the buck. Allocate responsibilities to specific team members to conduct briefings, training, collate feedback and suggestions.  This spreads the responsibility, gets everyone involved, ensuring these happen even when you’re not there.

All this adds up ultimately to making your customer service memorable, and a potential point of differentiation – for the right reasons.


How to achieve great customer service – Part 3

Empower

Upskilling your team by giving them the appropriate training, coaching and support enables you to delegate authority and gives your  staff a sense of responsibility, so they take the initiative and make decisions. You’ll be surprised how often they end up improving the process.  It means you don’t have to keep an eye on things 24/7, in the confident knowledge that your guests will always get great service.

Encourage staff to think ahead and anticipate guests’ needs, rather than waiting to be asked. Demonstrate your trust in the team by giving them responsibility and authority to respond to guests’ expectations and requests in the way that they see fit. Develop champions for areas of responsibility that need a specialist knowledge or particular attention. This promotes a sense of pride and responsibility and will encourage continuous improvement. This in turn can have an impact on your guests’ experience, when
specific knowledge is required to gain the guest’s confidence, for example dealing with function bookings, or food allergies, when from the customer’s perspective someone with specific expertise in that area may be needed.

Giving your staff authority to deal with unplanned situations (including complaints) enables them to resolve issues quickly and with minimum fuss. This is not only far better for the guest, but less effort in the long run for you and your team if they don’t need to find you or a manager. Telling a guest you don’t have the authority to deal with an issue is both frustrating for the guest and degrading for the team member.

There will naturally be situations where a manager’s input may be required, but aim to keep those to a minimum by ensuring that any one of the team can deal with the most common issues, questions or complaints.

Motivate and encourage your staff in making guest service a priority. Create a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging your team to ask for guest feedback. When they receive favourable feedback ask them to suggest ways to build or capitalise on this, and when less favourable to come forward with their own suggestions of where and how things can be improved.

 

In the final part this week,  it is about reward and recognigtion for the staff that go that extra mile for the customers.


How to achieve great customer service – Part 2

Direction

We’ve already talked about defining what we mean by great service, now this needs communicating. Discuss with your team what your guests expect and how to meet those expectations. Focus on telling people what you want to achieve, i.e. the end result, rather than dictating how to do it.  This gives people flexibility to adopt their own style.

However, be prepared to explain in behavioural terms when necessary, so rather than just saying ‘welcome guests’, give some examples of the types of things you’d expect to see them doing or hear them say if there’s any doubt about what this means. The more specific you are and more examples you give the easier it is for people to understand. Then lead by example so there are no mixed messages.

Encourage your team to take the guest journey, and see everything from a guest’s point of view as often as possible; they’ll invariably spot things that can be improved to enhance the guest experience, and this helps them put the whole customer experience into perspective.

Establish systems and guidelines where necessary and adequate tools and resources to meet these expectations. Too much red tape, staff shortages, unreliable equipment or a poor product will only lead to frustration and is bound to have a knock-on effect on staff’s ability to deliver great customer service.

 

Regular communication

Keep staff up-to-date at all times. Conduct daily briefings to cover such information as: VIP guests, special needs, regular guests and any known preferences so staff can anticipate their requirements, today’s menu and details of all ingredients, special offers and events or deals, other activity in or around the hotel that could impact the guest in any way, staff shortages and cover of responsibilities. These actions ensure your staff are fully briefed and competent to deal with any guest’s queries or concerns.

The daily briefing also provides an opportunity to get feedback on any guests’ comments. You can discuss any questions or suggestions that arise about operational issues that could have a bearing on the level of service your guests receive.

So, even on your busiest mornings make sure these briefings still happen; it’s generally on the busiest days that things go wrong.

Tomorrow in part 3 of the blog,  I will looking into empowerment of the staff and by giving them the training and skills that are needed, to gain the customer’s confidence.

 


Build confidence in others

This is part two of this week blog ‘Building Confidence’:

Limiting confidence just to your own abilities comes over as arrogance and failing to express confidence in the capability of others becomes a self-filling prophecy. People soon pick it up when you fail to trust or allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them doubting their own abilities. Lack of confidence will only lead to people not getting on with things off their own bat, which can be both frustrating and draining for you.

Encourage your team by assuring them that they have the skills and knowledge. If you really are unsure of somebody’s ability to deliver what’s needed reflect on what help and support they would need in order to achieve this and focus on that instead.

Look for the capabilities in others that they themselves may not see and help them to see these for themselves. If they doubt their own  ability encourage them to focus on what they are good at and where they do well. Then talk about what is holding them back and suggest ways of dealing with this.

Build confidence by providing positive feedback and recognition. Offer plenty of support and encouragement. Explain clearly the importance and significance of what they do. Foster a supportive culture where people can learn from their mistakes, rather than be blamed. Encourage team members to come up with their own areas of improvement and how they will achieve these. Recognise and reward when these improvements have been made even if things are not yet perfect!

 

Inspire commitment

Set out a clear vision of what you want to achieve for your business and what business success looks like. Paint a vivid picture that your team can relate to. Translate your overall strategy into meaningful direction.  Involve the team and deciding on how this vision can be achieved; they are the ones who will need to implement the lion share and have first-hand experience of what works and what your customers want.

Target individuals and inspire them to take ownership. Set goals which are stretching but still achievable and demonstrate your belief in the likelihood of success and your confidence in your team’s ability.

Make statements to build hope, optimism, excitement and enthusiasm in others and demonstrate your own belief in and have high expectations for the success of a particular plan or strategy.

Demonstrate your trust in the team. Empower individuals and the team by giving them authority to make decisions and take action. Generate a climate of confidence by drawing attention to the strengths of the team and individuals and where they complement one another rather than dwelling on shortcomings.

 

Join me on the FREE recording from myrecent tele seminar on  how to get the best from your team


How to Build Your Team’s Confidence

Are you a glass half full or glass half empty type of person?

I’m sure we can all relate to the type of person who constantly looks at the downside of everything; the type of person who drains your energy and your enthusiasm the whole time; the ‘Mood Hoovers’ who suck the life out of everything. But have you ever stopped to think about whether or not you have this impact on your team?
We continually hear of managers complaining about the lack of engagement or enthusiasm from their team, but have they ever stopped to think about whether they are the cause of it?

To build for success we need to build the confidence of our team. We do this and when we make our stance on issues clear and when we celebrate our successes. Our leadership is demonstrated through these timely decisions and our commitment to the business. How we communicate our own belief in our ability to succeed will have a knock-on effect on building the confidence of our team.
The more we can build the confidence of our team the better they are able to tackle difficult issues and respond to change in a complex and dynamic environment.

Self belief
This starts with a belief in yourself. Are you clear and concise about your own position on issues? Do you tell your team what you really think. Make clear decisions and communicate your stance on issues, and be prepared to defend these when pressed or challenged. Accept that making difficult decisions will be necessary from time to time, and avoid hiding difficult issues under the carpet.

Do you take ownership of problems? Acknowledge and own up when you’re wrong but move on by seeking to put things right. This establishes a climate where it’s recognised that mistakes do happen, and is more likely to foster an environment where people will take responsibility (and risks) when necessary rather than having to lean too heavily on you and the management team all of the time.

Use your experience, knowledge, and strengths to build credibility and utilise this by giving direction guidance and assistance to others when it’s needed and help clarify the way forward.

It’s important you remain self-motivated even when things are not going well; are you prone to displaying your frustration, doubts or hesitation; and resort to using negative language, expressing doubt in your own or others’ ability? In short, do you act as a role model for your team to follow?

Tomorrow will about building confidence in others within the team.

Join me on the FREE recording from my recent tele seminar on how to get the best from your team


Getting your team on board for their performance reviews.

Getting them on board for a staff one to one.

One to ones should be a two way discussion. Ask open questions to get their ideas on performance and how to move forward.

When giving feedback on their performance use the AID model:

  • A  Action what they did – i.e. what you have seen or heard (back this up with examples, focus on actions not on your interpretation or their intentions)
  • I  Impact – what has that achieved, or what impact has it had on the business, the department, the guests, or themselves
  • D  Development – what can they do to build on this, or do differently to improve or perfect, and how you can support them

Ask for their views, not only on their performance, but what support they need, what could be improved in the business, what feedback they have had from guests, their suggestions for future objectives. And be prepared to listen to their answers and probe for more detail or examples if you need to so you fully understand what they are saying.

Remember, if people’s previous experience of one to one meetings up till now has been bad or at best just a waste of time, it can take time to build trust before these can be totally honest exchanges. Start by asking the questions above, or similar, and use this as a starting point to get the discussions going.

 

Where to begin

If you aren’t already conducting regular one to ones now might be a good time to start. Use your first meeting to establish (jointly) their goals and KPIs if you don’t already have these in place.

Begin with the end in mind.

As it the nearly the end of the week this is the best place to start, get your diary out and start booking you and your staff in on Monday.


Planning your team one to ones.

What’s on the agenda for your staff one to ones.

The agenda doesn’t need to be written in tablets of stone, but it’s good to follow a basic structure so you both know what to expect and can plan accordingly. Linking back to your objectives there are some key elements to include, all of which can be structured around the questions yesterday. It’s far better to home in on one or two areas at each meeting so you can go into some depth, than covering everything superficially and covering the same ground each time.

What have they achieved towards pre-determined goals, targets, KPIs, etc.

How have they gone about this – this is where you might also look at their behaviours too. It’s all very well achieving all their targets if they have upset colleagues or guests along the way.

What needs to be focused on or addressed, and what support or development do they need to do this

A summing up and agreement on actions moving forward, with some measurable goals and clear direction

 

Time and place

One to ones should be scheduled so both of you can plan for them and around them, and fully prepare. And nothing smacks more of “I’m not valued” than one to one meetings being continually cancelled for the slightest reason.

I’m often asked how often and how long should they be. There is no hard and fast rule, but allow on average a minimum of an hour per month per person, longer for roles with more responsibility. So if you conduct them monthly then set aside at least an hour for each, plus preparation time. If logistics mean that you can only meet once every 2 months, then allow two hours.

Either way allow sufficient time so that neither of you are rushed or distracted by imposing deadlines e.g. prior to your main service times for F&B staff. Think also of their state of mind at the end of a very busy shift.

Avoid the fish bowl type of office or public areas. You want a free and open discussion, and you’ll not get this when there’s a fear they’ll be over heard or others can see their reactions to any sensitive issues raised.

Now the scene has been set for a really good one to one, now all you need to do is to get them on board with it too, and this is what you will read about tomorrow.


Do you dread staff one to one review meetings?

Why are ‘One to Ones’ so valuable for you, your staff, and your business…..?

1to1 reviews do you dread your review meetings

Some see staff 1:1 reviews simply as a chore. Never under estimate the impact of sitting down with each member of staff on a one to one basis.

A good starting point to get the best from them has to be identifying what you want to achieve from the meetings.

Your aim should be to motivate your team members to either continue or sustain good performance and to feel confident that they have the ability and support to fill any gaps where they need development.

It’s an opportunity for them to have their contribution recognised – not just performance, but have their ideas heard. And finally it devotes time to set direction and goals for the coming weeks.

The net result should be an enthused and motivated employee who knows what they should be focusing on, and how this will contribute to the business.

Finding the time for your staff one to ones.

One of the common concerns I hear is that the process is time consuming, particularly when you have 8 – 10 people reporting to you. Well, ask yourself this – how much time potentially will you need to spend rectifying things if you don’t take that time out with them?

I often hear of managers spending literally hours preparing for the meetings, then finding themselves having to work twice as hard to get the employee to contribute their ideas and views to the meeting. One to ones are as much for their benefit as yours, so ask them to take some responsibility too for the preparation.

3 questions

There may be things they’ve done that are worthy of comment, which you are oblivious to; remember you don’t see them every minute of every day they are at work. So ask them to plan what they would like to discuss. As a minimum you may like to consider these 3 questions:

  1. What successes or achievements have you had this month or what have you done this month that you’re proud of?
  2. What disappointments or frustrations? Or if you had a magic wand, what would you change or do differently?
  3. What do you feel needs to be your number 1 focus for the coming month?

You don’t need to use this wording, but you get the gist.

Their preparation obviously doesn’t let you off the hook altogether, but if they are well prepared it will certainly reduce the amount of time needed in the meeting to achieve the same result.

The preparation is key for these meetings, so in the next post you can read my thoughts on how to ensure a good agenda and the right environment which helps with the process of getting on track for a good meeting.

Continue to the next post for tips on planning your one to ones…