Service Excellence – Closing the Circle

(Originally written January, 2007)

The maid came into the hotel room and found that the safe was standing open.  She immediately called security.  When our friends returned to their room, there was a message from the hotel.   Our friends called the front desk, and soon three security people came to the room with the key to the safe.  Our friends were asked to open the safe and make sure that none of their valuables were missing. Nothing was missing; they had simply left the room safe open by mistake.  This hotel has a policy that they call “closing the circle”. When a guest has a problem, the solution is not complete until the hotel is told personally by the guest that it is complete. This process must be done in an excellent and timely manner to satisfy the management. This illustrated the kind of service that all of our party (fourteen people) received throughout our stay at this outstanding hotel.

My wife took a “Kitchen Tour” of the background workings of the facility, and came back so excited that I had to do the same. I thought, “How many hotels would be so proud of their immaculate kitchens that they would give tours?” I found a surprising world of excellence. When you order room service there, you will receive your order in no more than forty-five minutes (although our party found twenty minutes to be norm). Within five minutes after delivery, you would receive a call making sure that you had received your order on time and that it was correctly done.  If you ordered some towels, the “circle would be closed” with a call after you received the towels.  Four operators handle all the calls, of every kind for 1200 rooms, (2800 calls per shift). That is about one call per minute per operator. We have stayed at some nice hotels in many countries, but this quality of service was exceptional.  The 166 maids service 1841 beds and experience several internal audits every week.  They use 28 kinds of towel designs to entertain the room guests.  We entered our room to see towel elephants, swans, mother and baby, and other creations every day. Every employee of the hotel experiences a through security search as they arrive and leave each day.  Security is probably better than we would have received in theUnited States.

Since this hotel is located inMexico, they want to make sure that their guests not only have a safe and secure visit, but also enjoy food that is prepared in the best of health conditions.  The kitchen staff of 185 chefs and cooks prepares the food daily for over 2000 guests and 1324 employees.  The kitchen staff processes six different food groups separately on six different colors of cutting boards and knife handles.  Every time that any employee switches food groups or touches their face or someone else or goes to the rest room, he or she must go though a through 23 step hand washing process.  The staff does this while using huge qualities of food.  They use 200,000 eggs a month and eight tons of cheese.  Every day they use 2,800 pounds of fresh oranges. They use 3,300 pounds of flour a week just for the pastries and sweets. Food is pulled from the buffet after four hours, yet their spoilage rate is only 2%.  The waste comes from the customer, not the staff.  And they clean up all the mess with a dishwashing staff of only 2 or 3 people, because the plates come in scraped and sorted.  23,000 plates and 32,000 pieces of cutlery are handled daily by a dishwasher with cycles of 170 and 205 degrees.  That is what I call an efficient and healthy environment.

There are hundreds of excellent hotels and fine resorts across our nation and around the world.  However, all of our traveling companions were amazed at the quality of service we received there.  I began to think of my own business.  Are our employees “closing the circle” for excellent service?  I could use the excuse that our employees cost a lot more and that we do not charge resort prices, but do we shower our clients with outstanding service?  Are our customers blown away by service that is far above our competitor?  Do we daily meet and exceed the quality of service that our customers expect?  Sometimes it makes sense for you to go on vacation in order to improve your business.  I have not figured out how to legally charge off the trip as a business expense, but it was a great investment anyway.  Why not plan some times this year to get away with your spouse and family? At the same time, you could think of some ways that you can do a better job serving your customers.

Seeking Excellence,

Kent Humphreys

“Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35 (NASU)

You may check out the web site of the Aventura Spa Palace at www.PalaceResorts.com

 

 

 

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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