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  • The Storyteller

As Long As The Positives Outweigh The Negatives

Sometimes after a hotel stay, I will intentionally wait until I have flown back home before asking myself, “What service encounters or offerings do I remember specifically?”

I want to see what stays in my mind post-stay, be it the positive or negative. Some things that may be pleasant during the stay, become totally forgettable by the time we check out. The contrary may also apply. The fact that we still remember these, means that these episodes matter to us. They remain stuck in our minds.

At this small charming property in Ubud, this is what I remembered after a three-night stay:

a. The employee lingering on after room orientation was completed. Is he lingering on for tips? We weren’t very sure, but the seed of doubt has been casted. We informed him that we needed to make small change later on.

Service Bank: -1

b. On the second day, I asked someone from the Front Desk where the resort’s spa was located. The person assigned her colleague – a young intern – to show me the way. Unfortunately, the young lady didn’t manage to find the way and we walked back and forth the long corridor in silence. (Finally we asked the Housekeeping employee who happened to walk past)

Service Bank: -1

c. We commented to the Front Desk that an employee had mistakenly rang our doorbell early in the morning despite our Do Not Disturb sign. They apologised sincerely and did not try to make up any excuse.

When we returned from our excursion in the late afternoon, a supervisor present at the lobby approached us and apologised for the morning’s incident. He asked about our stay and if there was anything else he could do to further enhance our comfort in the room. The fact that the team had communicated effectively plus the sense of accountability and ownership demonstrated by the supervisor, made us feel valued.

Service Bank: - 3 (doorbell ringing) + 1 (seamless team communication) + 3 (the manner in which the supervisor handled the situation) = Net of +1

d. All other staff that we met were friendly. For example, while waiting for the transport, the friendly receptionist chatted naturally with us – not scripted – and we enjoyed the genuine conversation. The porter was very courteous when tipped and said with his palm touching his heart, “That’s very kind, thank you. We hope you have a really special stay with us.” The breakfast team was also very welcoming with their warm smiles and efficient service.

Service Bank: +3


While the Service Bank minuses or pluses may be subjective, it helps to articulate how each interaction makes the guest feel. In this case, despite the small minuses here and there, the net balance of this stay’s Service Bank is still a positive 2 💖💖.

If the doorbell incident had not occurred (a minus), there would have been no opportunities for the positive service recovery too. So, do not be discouraged when there is a hiccup when delivering the service. See the silver lining in every cloud, and act on it.

As long as there are no major negatives, and provided that each team member play their part in getting at least a +1💖 in every service encounter, the overall stay experience should safely fall within the positive range.

Make sure the positives outweigh the minuses. This is what counts at end of the day.

Reflective thoughts: Does your team share about their Service Bank daily – withdrawals as well as deposits? Or is it mainly about numbers? The more we talk about it, the more ideas we get, the more aware we become, and the better we perform.

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