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  • The Storyteller

Understanding Different Perspectives

I often say that I am not a trainer, just a storyteller sharing different perspectives.

Sometimes before we try to tackle a service issue, we need to dig deeper and ask questions to first understand the mindset of the team members. Why are doing what they do? (or not doing what they should be)

For example, I found out that the barman did not remove the empty glasses on the guests’ table not because he did not notice them or that he was lazy. It was because in his mind, it is impolite to approach the table to clear the glasses and offer new drinks while the guests were still speaking to each other.

In a separate case, a restaurant kept missing the seemingly simple standard of offering mineral water during its annual service audit by incognito inspectors. Year after year, this standard was not met. It is not so difficult, is it? It turned out that the team felt bad about upselling when they actually do offer filtered water for free.

Not too long ago, my friend stayed at Capella Hotel and the room was not ready when she arrived. She ended up waiting for about 45 minutes in The Library where afternoon snacks were being served. Eventually, she asked one of the staff if her room was finally ready, and the person replied yes – readily. My friend was puzzled why she had not been informed earlier. My give-the-benefit-of-doubt guess is that the employee had probably assumed the guest was “enjoying her drink and that “she is fine for now”.

It is only when the team leaders take time to hear their own team members out and truly understand how they think and do what they do, that they can take the next step of explaining how things could/should have been handled. That way, the learning tends to stick. This has been proven to work again and again.

Reflective thoughts: What would you seek to understand in terms of your team members’ behaviour or way of doing things? Ask why. Maybe another why and another more. Get to the bottom of things in order to move things up.

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