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Taco Hell | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 August 2007 12:20

I love Taco Bell and who doesn't at 1:00 in the morning. However yesterday I was reminded of my first boss Bill Mamakos when I worked at his deli/cookie shop called Applebee's he owned in Pittsburgh. I used to work 6:00 am till 3:00 pm in the summers during college. If I do say so myself I was good with customers. I just love chatting it up with people I don't even know. (I get the BS from my mother.) But by about 2:00pm on my shift when lunch slowed down I dreaded waiting on people. I was burnt out. I'd avoid eye contact and acted busy so someone else would have to wait on the customer.

My boss noticed this after awhile and started to take over the register and told me I could stock the cooler instead if I wanted. It was the best gift ever and the sign of a good boss paying attention. I could decompress and be left alone. Not to mention the customer was better off. He could have scolded me for my behavior but instead he recognized the reality and stress of retail. And he knew that the customer relationships that I built for his business the first seven hours of my shift was a good investment of his time to jump in and lead by example and give me an occasional break.

Back to Taco Bell. Yesterday the girl working the window was in a foul mood. When I told her my order was wrong she grabbed it from me, pulled it in the window, turned around and threw it against the wall and started yelling at people. She just lost it. This girl was in serious need of a break.

If you're a manager keep in mind taking care of customers all day can be draining and an unexpected break from you the boss for even five minutes to change duties can be a big relief.

Hotel Hospitality | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 12:18

I travel a lot and just when I thought service at most hotels had gone to hell a Marriott hotel front desk employee blew me away. I was staying at the Residence Inn in Rochester, NY. My laptop fell and ceased to exist. I had a seminar to present the next day and still had work to do and needed a computer. The hotel didn't have a general one for guest use. However Sophia did exactly what most companies would want. She figured out a way to help me!

The computer in the back office wasn't able to read my USB Flash drive so she opened up Housekeeping's office and allowed me to work on their computer for nearly three hours. She even checked periodically to see if I wanted anything to drink or needed any help. I actually did need help. I was trying to get music files loaded and that computer didn't have the capability. Sophia called another Marriott property next door and asked if they had a computer "we" could use. (She said "we", not "a guest", she made herself part of the project and took ownership.)

She walked over with me and did the download since I didn't know how. She even offered to drive home at the end of her shift (nearly midnight) to bring me a CD if I needed it. I was shocked!

I have incredibly high standards and it was amazing how Sophia went above and beyond the call of duty. Perhaps we can train other employees to do this, but a big part is for companies to hire the right people where this behavior comes natural to them.

Companies get measured when a customer has a problem, and the Marriott has a competitive advantage with Sophia on their team. How may Sophias does your company have?


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