A season for new service standards

Four Seasons properties Middle East-wide are set to implement global service standards.
A season for new service standards
By Administrator
Sat 31 May 2008 04:00 AM

Four Seasons properties Middle East-wide are set to implement global service standards.

Four Seasons hotels operating in the region are to offer an enhanced customer experience having rolled out the company's new global service standards.

Four Seasons Hotel Doha hotel manager Sven Wiedenhaupt said the company had long-standing service standards - with some variations for local cultural considerations - but had recently embarked on an in-depth programme to update them.

"The growth of the company and the evolution of the hospitality industry has meant we need to modify and grow with it," he explained.

"The customers were indirectly telling us, and we were realising, that there was an evolution happening - and will continue to evolve.

"Around the world there was a task force for different regions and each individual hotel was asked to test the validity and applicability of the standards.

We were sitting down with each property and with each department, and going through line-by-line working out if the standards needed to be changed, or modified, and if the meaning was still applicable.

The result is a new programme, called ‘Guest Experience 2008', which has three fundamental concepts: ‘get it right', ‘get me right' and ‘wow me if you can'.

Wiedenhaupt said Four Seasons staff already exhibited many of the characteristics of the new standards, but that the introduction of the new guidelines empowered staff to follow their instincts.

"Wowing the guest is a translation of empowerment and trust - the staff are going to become more comfortable and realise what it takes to wow a guest," he said.

"Rather than having a checklist of what they must be doing, they are now free to do whatever they think they should be doing for that guest at that particular point in time.

Four Seasons assistant laundry manager Allen Tang said the standards were easily applied in everyday operations: "I was making up a room and the guest had taken out four pillows and just left one on the bed," he said.

"So I am not going to put back all the pillows, as per our standards, I'm going to give him what he wants. But then we are going to put that in his profile, and when he comes back in three months we will set it up the way he likes it, and he will be impressed we have gone to that effort.

The standards explainedGet it right:It is about getting the technical and the basic elements correct. For example: how to make a cappuccino, how to make a bed and checking someone in and out. The guest has a right to expect us to ‘get it right' - it is the fundamental reason they are here.

Get me right:This is about getting it right for each guest personally. For example, understanding that I don't take milk with my coffee, and ensuring that people are aware of that so I don't keep getting asked if I want milk.

It's an intuitive element, but then it is important to communicate it and put it into the system so that the next time the guest comes we are able to repeat it.

Wow me if you can:The last part is what makes Four Seasons unique, and it is going to make us even better.

A real life example is an employee at a hotel where a bride was staying, and she wanted to print out her speech for her wedding.

The software she used wasn't available, but the employee took it upon himself to leave the hotel, go to a local merchant and get the software, print the speech, then take it to the church and deliver the speech before the wedding - without the bride realising he was doing it.

It's about taking extra steps for the guests and recognising when there is an opportunity to take things further.

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