Think Strawberries - the secret to creating a service culture

There's a seven letter word that is that heart of everything we do in this industry. S E R V I C E.

The fact is that here in Jersey, as with so many destinations in Europe, we're not very good at it. There are many theories on why this is the case. Some argue that it's just not in the European character to smile, look our guests in the eye and satisfy their every need. Others complain that the poor pay does not attract the right calibre of people.

I think it's about leadership. If you have a strong, capable owner/manager who can inspire his or her team then you are more than 50% of the way to achieving your goal. This week I came across a guy who understood all about service and leadership. His name was James Levinson and for several years he ran the New York Plaza and turned it from a loss-making hotel into a hugely successful and profitable enterprise.

How did he achieve this? Well, you can read how. In 1973 at the end of his tenure as CEO of the Plaza, he gave a speech to the American Marketing Association. This hilarious speech describes how he turned the 1400 employees in the hotel into a highly motivated sales team using a programme called 'Think Strawberries'. His approach was to make every single member of staff, from the laundry to the front desk to think and act as if they were hosting a guest in their own home. Over the year's Levinson's approach has been used as a basis for many hospitality businesses training programmes.

I urge you read it - click here to see a transcript. I defy you not to find an idea that you can use in your own business to improve your service standards. Good luck!

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