|Harry Nobles & Cheryl Thompson, January 2002
We were invited to participate in the Tourism Industry Association of
Nova Scotia (TIANS) annual conference in November; our topic being “People
Make the Difference”. Our trip to Halifax resulted in two incidents
that reinforced this point far better than any example we could have created.
Nothing happened for nearly one hour except the arrival of several more passengers who joined us in line. At approximately 6:15AM airline employees began to appear at or near the counter. They entered and exited the door behind the counter; they walked past the line of waiting passengers; one actually turned on the lights. No employee acknowledged the passengers; no one offered any information on when the counter might open. All appeared totally oblivious to us. I could tell from facial expressions and overheard comments that the other passengers shared our feeling of frustration and anger.
I do not know much about running an airline, but it seems logical that employees should be required to arrive at the same time as passengers. A small sign announcing when the counter would open would also have been a big help. A greeting or a word from one of the employees would also have been nice.
Shortly before 6:30AM, a young man arrived at the counter, opened his station, and began assisting passengers. When we approached the counter, he was very efficient, greeted us cordially and handled the transaction very professionally. He smiled, addressed us by name, and offered a very simple apology for our long wait. That was enough. He did not make excuses. He did not apologize to excess, which I would have considered meaningless at the time. He just did his job very well.
His professional attitude and conduct did a lot to ameliorate the previous experience and dispel most of our anger. His actions did indeed make a difference.
When we arrived in Halifax and found we had some free time in the afternoon, we visited the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. During my years at AAA, I visited hundreds of museums, large and small. My major criticism of museums concerns the staff. I have met many very professional and knowledgeable attendants; I have also met many who appeared to have very little knowledge of and even less interest in the exhibits. To be candid, I was not particularly anxious to see one more museum, but my business partner insisted.
Rick, at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic made our visit there very enjoyable and informative. He was knowledgeable, cordial, professional, and very enthusiastic. He not only was able to answer our questions; he offered additional information and appeared to really enjoy his work. Rick certainly made a very positive difference in our impression of the museum and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
These experiences reinforce our position that people make the difference. Ensuring that your staff appreciates this simple fact will guarantee that your guests see the difference.
Harry Nobles & Cheryl Thompson
|Also See:||What Is a Boutique Hotel? / Dec 2001|
|The Non-negotiable Traits of Leaders / Oct 2001|
|How Important is Service? / Sept 2001|
|Front Desk Service Mistakes / Aug 2001|
|Food & Beverage Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001|
|Bell Staff Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001|
|Attitude vs Aptitude / June 2001|
|Female Business Travelers' Expectations / June 2001|
|Is Outsourcing Your Training a Viable Alternative? / June 2001|
|Unique Identity + Consistent Service = Success / May 2001|
|AAA Standards vs Guests' Expectations / May 2001|
|Are Your Guests Better Informed Than Your Staff? / April 2001|
|Are U.S. Hotels Rated Differently From Other North American Hotels? / April 2001|
|The Design Theme - AAA / Mobil Ratings Connection / March 2001|
|Attitude Can Make the Difference / January 2001|
|How Should Casino-Hotels be Rated? / Dec 2000|
|Does AAA Rate Resorts Fairly? / Nov 2000|
|Is Your Property Suffering From Design Deficiency? / Nov 2000|
|The Future of AAA Ratings / September 2000|
|What Is Your Optimum AAA Rating / August 2000|
|If You Disagree With Your AAA Rating…../ June 2000|
|Are AAA Ratings Always Accurate and Objective / May 2000|
|Creating Atmosphere / Jan 2000|
|What is "Atmosphere"? / December 1999|
|Maintaining Your AAA Rating / Nov 1999|
|Earning a AAA Rating vs Maintaining a AAA Rating: Which Is More Difficult? / Oct 1999|
|Can Outstanding Service Offset Hotel Physical Deficiencies in the Rating Systems? / Harry Nobles / June 1999|
|Consistency: The Hallmark of a Fine Hotel / September 1999|
|Who Should Train Your Employees / Aug 2000|
|Mobil Travel Guide Announces 1998 Mobil Four-and Five-Star Award Winners / Jan 1998|
|Key to Success: Training + Follow-Up / June 2000|
|The Legend of the Pineapple / Harry Nobles / Feb 1999|