March 15, 2010

Expecting the Unexpected

The Grand Club concierge at the Grand Hyatt New York sits in front of his computer screen, seemingly bored and frequently surfing the Internet.  He may greet you upon your entrance and exit into the Club, or he may not.

The staff at the Grand Club at the Grand Hyatt Seattle are all youthful employees whose primary job seems to be bussing tables.  They are perky, but seem more suited to being servers at TGI Friday's.

David, one of the Grand Club staff at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco, holds court over the Club.  He greets you immediately upon entering and quickly asks for your name.  It is noted in a small notebook he keeps in a pocket inside his suit jacket.  He will greet you by name the rest of your stay and if you visit the hotel often, quite likely will remember it months later.  None of his colleagues do the same.

Same hotel brand.
Same Club level lounge.
Completely different experiences.

It's great that you have consistent application of your graphic identity and other visual elements for your brand.  But the real brand value comes from a consistently extraordinary interaction with your front-line staff.

Who is determining the success of your organization right now with your members and customers? 

If it's not a David, you'd better get to work.

4 comments:

Matt said...

Great post, Jeff. I couldn't agree more. Any tips on how to find/cultivate more Davids in an organization?

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Matt: it's a great question. I think the answer probably begins with having a conversation with these employees about really "owning the space" and what that looks like in their mind. I'd also discuss with them the times they felt most welcomed and appreciated and help them see how those qualities might apply in this work.

Deandrius said...

Frequently when concierges are "surfing the web", they are researching information on restaurant openings & closings, local events, shows, etc. It is part of their job to stay knowledgeable and up to date with the most breaking information. I'm curious as to what would indicate boredom? A yawn or perhaps a stretch? Is this what you witnessed?

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Deandrius: Concierges should indeed be searching for information as you noted. What I witnessed was surfing Facebook and other sites where the time spend seemed to be of a more personal nature.

The boredom inference came from nonverbals: slumped posture, twiddling fingers, ricking or spinning in the chair, etc. But more significantly it came form an almost complete lack of engagegment with the guests in the lounge.