(Blogger’s Note: Due to travel itinerary the next blog will appear on Monday, Dec. 11.)Just when you think, you have garnered as many kudos for excellent service as you could possibly muster from your customers and their friends someone raises the hospitality expectation bar. That´s what happens when people cruise.
Example: As I write this in the breakfast dining room on deck 11 a waiters appears tableside and notifies me that the power cord to my PC is under the leg of my chair and needs be repositioned so as to not cause any problems. He states this with service sincerity.
Who is training these people? They are an incredible group seemingly injected with a desire to rise to new heights of professionalism.
How does this have any circumstance for the owner of Joe´s Café or Bistro Bob´s or Harry´s Grandeur Room? It gives people a taste and sets an example of what excellent service is all about. It raises the meter of expectation to a seldom-found level in neighborhood Bistros, Cafes, and small group restaurants.
Sure, we all know our favorite waiters and frequent their stations because of fine dining friendliness. However, how is the normal schmo off the street, who walks into a foreign land in search of a decent meal, treated when nobody recognizes the stranger´s face? In most cases, we assume with pleasing, professional, service. Who knows if there is a weak link in your chain? Do you? Do you analyze your staff regularly? Do you test them with any degree of surprise? Probably not.
I couldn’t keep track of times I kept a less than qualified waiter on staff, as it was easier to endure than to replace. The interviews, the ads, the interviews, the ads, and then Viola, a knight shows up to save the day only to fall off the horse he rode in on three days after training and he dumps the entire idea of working in a food establishment.
Don´t surmise for a moment service on cruise lines is something only the wealthy experience as in days before Trans fat banning.
Today, cruising is affordably available to everyone with vacation time coming. Service is delivered with old-style hospitality whether the passenger enjoys a seaside stateroom with a balcony overlooking the horizon or one inside the ship sans porthole.
On top of this, it never falters. I watched a passenger complain about a burnt bagel so assertively that one would think it were her last meal before state approved execution. In New York she would have been tossed out of Katz´ Deli with flavorful verbal shmear. Onboard she treated as though she owned the ship and each passenger seems to be treated in the same professional manner.
The culture is based on service. It has to do with service staff training. I am convinced that is the great separator between success and failure. In order to meet the standards that the big corporate giants are setting single unit and small group operators need to adopt their training standards.
It may be a rough ride when you begin the program but once your staff is set on the right course you could be in for some smooth sailing.