At the reception desk of a large business hotel, I asked for a quick piece of information. I received it from a receptionist, who answered while looking down, with tight lips resembling the line of the equator. I might have caught him at a wrong moment. A month later, in the same hotel, I again asked for some quick information at the reception. This time, there was a lady receptionist. Her lips, too, were equatorial, and she was struggling all the time with a problematic POS device. I wondered: is this the style of the house?
Last Sunday I stopped at a café in the centre of Milan with a friend. A real trendy place. We sat down. A young waitress arrived, with equatorial lips, as seems to be usual by now. I ordered a Coke with lemon and without ice. I received a Coke with ice and without lemon. Ok. I made a smiling remark: «You have brought the opposite of what I asked for». Equatorial lips answered: «I wrote it down correctly. They gave me a wrong glass». Her reply came as a blow. I thought: why not just smile and change my glass?
There is nothing special to these episodes. Small unkindnesses, mistakes we have all made or experienced. Where many managers, trainers and directors default is in underrating the economic consequences of these small behaviours.
If we forget that our receptionists should smile and look at customers in their eyes, the whole hotel is going wrong from top to bottom. Each of these failed smiles and sad looks is a bad blow to our guests? stay experience. And some translate these feelings into tweets, posts and reviews. Then we hire experts in online brand reputation, who will explain how to respond to reviews, in what tone and register. Right! But why not go back to investing in our smile reputation, before this happens?
P.S. If you are sure that all this does not concern your hotel, be cautious! Invite a friend who is not into tourism to spend a night in your hotel, and ask him to tell you about his experience!
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