Industry Update
Opinion Article28 January 2019

The Combination To Unlocking Great Customer Service

By Todd M. Noftall, Hotelier

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Tell me how I can provide great service!
That is a question I get asked a lot. Whether it is here on LinkedIn or by College Hospitality Students or by my Team Members.


What's the one thing that I can do? someone asked. I said, "Smile". Another person asked a similar question and I answered it with "Greet your guests every time you see them; good morning, good afternoon, or a simple hello. Then it was "use their name because everyone loves to hear it". Display positive body language. Be proactive. Be an active listener. Be personable. Be approachable. Be relatable. Be empathetic. Be genuine. Be the best of yourself.

How would you answer that question?

Your answer might be different from mine and different from others who read this because we each place a higher value on different things. However, those things, those individual traits, while important to us, are only a small part of a bigger picture.

The short answer is that there is not any one thing, you can do, that any of your guests will perceive as being great service. Your guest will positively respond to your smile. Smiling makes everyone feel better, the person smiling and the person seeing the smile. A smile is the first and most critical step. By itself, it is only one piece of the puzzle.

  • Trying to be empathetic without being personable and relatable does not work.
  • Saying hello without smiling and making eye contact is simply insincere.
  • Not projecting the best you is the greatest disservice you can give to your guests.

When you ask someone how their stay was you should genuinely and honestly want to hear the answer. You're not just asking because it is part of the script that your hotel has for you. A great service provider will authentically and sincerely, ask that question because they actually want to hear the answer. A great service provider will use all of the small individual parts to create a great experience and will use them consistently. Great service is not a one-time thing. Smiling once or twice in the morning does not do it. Rarely using your guests name, (do you remember that one time you used it?) is just not good enough.

Great customer service is comprised of so many small parts, but when those parts are used together, and used consistently, they become the combination to unlocking great service.

Todd M. Noftall

I have almost 25 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry. Great Customer Service and creating memorable experiences for all my guests is something that is important to me. Another passion of mine is sharing my knowledge and experience with the future leaders of this great industry. In addition to being a General Manager I also mentor College students enrolled in Hospitality Programs.

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