Service Compensation

Johnnie Moore's recent post (exerpt below) about strategic thinking has me accelerating a thought I was going to share a bit down the road.....

*Your recruitment/hiring, compensation and performance evaluation programs must center around and promote in every way the objective you are attempting to reach through your employees.

Henry Ford wnated to produce quality automobiles rapidly and a low cost. Accordingly, he paid people to be very efficient/productive and to make minimal mistakes. On the other hand, if you wnat your employees to provide Remarkable and Memorable Service, you need to reward them to think and act that way as opposed to paying them to perform the job function outlined in that boring, legal ez job description (shred those things, and start over).

For instance.....if you want people registered into your hotel quickly, properly (with all of the proper signatures, credit card swipes, etc) and with one second of eye contact, write a job description for a front desk clerk, hire someone who can operate a computer terminal and key machine and pay them to check people in. And, that's what you will get...a front desk clerk.

However, if you want your guests to leave the registration process with Wow! that was the coolest, most memorable service experience I've ever had at a hotel, then design your hiring processes (interviews, selection criteria, etc.), compensation and performance evaluation programs around that....Memorable Service! Hire, train and reward your people to exceed every customer expectation. Don't pay them by the hour, pay them for providing astounding service. Yes, it's difficult to measure. But, you likely measure it already to judge the overall performance of the company. So, figure it out for the front line folks where the rubber really meets the road.

Incidentally, if you adopt this philosophy, I guarantee you will create some serious Buzz within the ranks of your competition....and you will likely never again have an application flow problem.

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A simple example
A while back I heard how the boss of a US hotel chain wanted his IT people to create a system to identify returning guests at check-in. The idea being that the receptionist could say "Welcome back Mr Bloggs" and win points for recognising him. The IT people tut-tutted and came back saying "Yeah, we can do this and it will cost x million dollars". The boss was unimpressed and frustrated by the cost.
A few days later, he was in the lobby of one of his hotels and overheard the receptionist at work. Several times she said "Welcome back" to people. Our hero bowled up to her and demanded to know how she managed this feat of recognition.
"Well, see that bellboy who carries guests bags from the entrance. I have a deal with him. He asks "is this is their first visit?" and if it is, when they all get to the reception, he puts their bags down parallel to the desk. If it's a return visit, he puts them at right angles. Then I know."
The story is told by the boss against himself and as an example of what people can do when you free them to use their own smarts instead of following a manual.