After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
Identify and describe the history, ages of change,
and current status of guest service in the
Identify the various reasons why guests may not
Identify and explain the reasoning behind why
guests share their poor experiences with others.
Describe the expectations of guests as they relate
Explain and apply the concept of using quality
service as a competitive advantage.
Describe details regarding the legends of
The Basics of Guest Service
Age of Communication
Age of Service
Age of Technology
Moment of Truth
Quality Customer Service
4 Chapter 1 The Basics of Guest Service
Guest service cannot be studied in a vacuum. Th e concepts of this book are a unique
blend of the materials essential to deliver quality guest service in the hospitality
industry. It involves history, terminology, tools and instruments, human resources,
problem- solving, strategy, marketing, and technology. Furthermore it, must also be
applied to each sector of the hospitality industry.
Th is book is aimed toward hospitality management students in the fi rst, second,
or third year of their college studies. It may also be easily used by practitioners,
laypeople, and those in other secondary education areas.
A SCIENCE AND AN ART
Th is book aims to explain the primary aspects in customer service management within
the hospitality industry. We all know that you should be nice to people, so why are there
so many negative guest experiences in the hospitality industry? Th is is because good
service doesn’t just happen by itself. It requires a special blend of procedure, technique,
and skill combined with the human element. It is, essentially, both a science and an art.
INTEGRATION OF CUSTOMER SERVICE
Providing service is a concerted eff ort. Th ere is much more to providing good service
than simply being nice to people. In order for customer service to be successful, it
must be integrated into the overall business model. Customer service must be part of
the company’s identity, or brand. It must be tailored to the individual operation and
customized, planned, and executed with systems that support it. Employees must be
knowledgeable about the brand, the products, and the operations. Also, the customer
must be properly gauged or assessed to ensure proper alignment with the brand image.
So, the brand image, operations, and employees of the business must all align
with the target customer whom they are aiming to attract, serve, and retain. In other
words, providing quality customer service is more than being friendly. It is part of the
core of the business. It is integrated into nearly every decision. It is calculated and
planned. It is evident in all of the operations, the people, and the plan .
MEETING GUESTS’ EXPECTATIONS
There are a variety of definitions for customer service. Essentially, anytime patrons, or
even prospective patrons, interact with a facet of the organization, customer service is
rendered. Quality customer service is meeting and exceeding the individual customer’s
expectations. If service meets or surpasses customer’s expectations, in any situation,
it is said to be quality customer service.
Meeting or exceeding the expectations of customers, or quality customer service,
can occur anywhere and at any level of establishment. Good service can occur at a concession
stand, at a fi ne-dining establishment, at a show, or on a tour.
Meeting and exceeding
expectations of the
OVERVIEW OF HOSPITALITY—
HOW IT RELATES TO CUSTOMER
Th e hospitality industry is a service industry. Th e guest
is served through many diff erent means. Th e industry
has many segments. Food, lodging, and travel have
traditionally been the primary three. Controversy has
recently entered the industry. Arguments support that
events, sports, gaming, health care, and assisted living
are other major segments. Some argue that “almost all
of the industry is travel and tourism,” or “marketing” or
“business management.” Despite this controversy, most
would agree that all of these disciplines fall within the
service sector of the economy.
Being a service industry means that customers
determine the success of the operation and business.
Th e customer can make a business the most popular
business in town. Th e customer can also shut down a
giant operation by choosing not to patronize it .
Th is text dedicates specifi c chapters to the food, beverage, hotel, casino, travel,
and events sectors of the industry, recognizing the individual nature of each.
EXAMPLES OF BAD SERVICE
Why does bad service exist? Th ere are many reasons for bad service. Th e reasons are
endless and often appear to be out of direct control. Some appear acceptable to the
staff , the manager, or even the guests. Following is a list of common excuses. While
many may appear legitimate, none is truly acceptable.
Customer Service Is Our Goal
I am sorry we
The Significance of the Pineapple
The pineapple is the most appropriate symbol
for this book on guest service. Welcoming
guests is central to all of the industry.
The pineapple’s origins date back several hundred
years. As ships returned from the Caribbean
with pineapples, this sweet fruit was embraced in
Europe and Colonial America. Hosts used it both
as a centerpiece and dessert when entertaining.
Hence, the pineapple came to represent hospitality.
It is rumored that sea captains, once home, would
place a pineapple on the front porch to signify their
return. Neighbors then were welcome to stop by.
Hospitality is what we do. We make guests feel
6 Chapter 1 The Basics of Guest Service
EXCUSES FOR BAD SERVICE
They are understaff ed.
They aren’t paid enough.
They aren’t properly trained.
They are just having a bad day.
No person or system is present to monitor.
They are in training.
They are overworked and tired.
It isn’t their responsibility.
Th e boss isn’t present or doesn’t care.
Th e computer is slow.
Th e kitchen is slow.
Th e ______ is broken.
We just got a new ______ .
Th ere are too many customers.
They didn’t expect this many customers.
Th e customer is rude.
Th e customers are too demanding.
Th e customers don’t know what they want.
Th e customers don’t pay attention.
Th e customer doesn’t seem to mind. No one has complained to corporate.
Th e party next to us or in the other room is too loud.
Everything in this neighborhood stinks.
Th is place is all about low cost.
We are renovating.
Th ere are numerous reasons why poor service is delivered. Most of these reasons
are common to all customer service settings. They are used regularly. It is important to
have a mindset that none of them is truly acceptable .
I’m in Training
A name tag states, “I’M IN TRAINING.” Employee
turnover, cross-training, system changes, and
employee development means that there will always
be someone in training. How should this best be
handled? Does it always have to be simulated
behind the scenes? Or, can it be assisted training
in front of the guest? Surveys suggest that customers
are generally more patient and have lower
expectations of service when they see that an
employee is in training. Others, though, are immediately
intolerant because they feel that the business
has provided them with less-than-adequate attention
and that errors are likely.
Suggestions: Do as much training as possible
behind the scenes. Don’t release employees to the
public who aren’t ready. Use role plays and simulations
until trainees are competent. The customer
service setting is not a training ground. Always give
direct supervision when training in front of a guest.
Make it obvious they are training and that support
is immediately available. This will show the customer
that the business cares about providing them
REASONS WHY CUSTOMERS
DO NOT COMPLAIN
Most customers do not and will not complain. They
will not give the business a chance to know what is
wrong. Instead, they simply will not return. They may
not tell you because they think you do not care or that
you don’t deserve to know. They may think that you
should fi gure it out for yourself or that it would be too
diffi cult for them to complain and actually be heard.
Or they tried to complain and their concerns fell on
deaf ears. Perhaps no system was in place to receive or
correct the issue.
Lack of complaints doesn’t always imply that service
is great. Even the best-run companies struggle
with issues. Also, it has often been said that if you think
that you have no problems, then you aren’t listening hard
enough . Below is a list of reasons describing what might
be going through the minds of guests.
■I don’t think it’s worth it.
■I tried before and no one listened.
■I am in a hurry.
■I don’t want to make a scene.
■I feel bad for the staff .
■It isn’t the staff ’s fault.
■I don’t want to get anyone in trouble.
■Th ere seems to be no solution in sight.
■I’m afraid that they’ll mess with the food.
■I don’t think that it will make a diff erence.
■I don’t think anyone cares.
■I just hate this place and I want to leave.
You may not always know the reason why a customer doesn’t complain. While
they won’t tell you, they will be sure to tell many of their friends.
GOOD SERVICE CAN MAKE UP FOR BAD FOOD
Service may just be one reason why an experience is poor. What do you remember most
about a poor hospitality experience? Was it the service? Was it the decor? Was it the event,
the room, or the food? Or was it a combination of these things? A common phrase is:
“Good service can make up for a bad food, but good food cannot make up for poor service.”
With this in mind, consider the following two scenarios.
Renovations are inevitable. Some upgrades can be
made with little or no disturbance to the customers.
Sometimes, however, this is not possible. How
should a business communicate to the customer
that it is performing renovations?
Some businesses announce: “Please pardon
our appearance.” Others decide to say nothing and
simply conduct business as usual. If it is mentioned
before customers arrive, some customers will avoid
coming altogether. If it is noticed at the time of service,
some will forgive and others will be very disappointed.
Their expectations will not have been met.
There are advantages and disadvantages to
informing guests about construction, which must
be carefully weighed. There is no one best way to
approach a renovation. Keeping the inconveniences
and loss of expectations to a minimum is key.
Customers will be inconvenienced, and allowances
must be made, so it is important to have a good
service-recovery program in place. Also, a good contractor
and project manager will greatly add to your
success. Make sure they are aware of your expected
level of service during the construction period.
8 Chapter 1 The Basics of Guest Service
You are at a nice restaurant with a date. Your evening plans are for dinner and an
evening show. You mention to the server that you have show tickets. Th e server
says, “OK.” You are unsure what that means, but continue to order a medium-rare
steak. Your date orders the pasta special. Within a reasonable amount of time, the
dinners arrive at the table. You cut into your steak and discover that it is overcooked
to the point of almost being well done. You look around and cannot fi nd your
server. After a few minutes, you catch a glimpse of your server walking back into
the kitchen. You spend the next few minutes trying to get the server’s attention as
he runs around tending to other guests. You are fi nally successful and able to explain
the situation. Th e steak is returned to the kitchen and you are left with nothing in
front of you while your date sits uncomfortably waiting for your new steak to arrive.
Despite your requests for your date to begin eating, he or she feels awkward eating
while you have no food. Your new steak eventually arrives. By that time, nearly 20
additional minutes have passed and you have to eat quickly, with no time to enjoy
your food. You are nervous that you will be late for your show. You try to get the
check as soon as you can, but spend the rest of the time anxious that you will be late
for the show.
You are at a nice restaurant with a date before an evening show. You mention to the
server that you have tickets. Th e server inquires whether the show is at the nearby
theatre and confirms the time. Th e server then smiles, nods, and says “Very well.
We will do our very best to ensure that you have a great experience and make the
show in plenty of time.” You order a medium-rare steak. Your date orders the pasta
special. Within a reasonable amount of time, the dinners arrive at your table. You
cut into your steak and discover that it is overcooked to the point of being well
done. You look up and realize the server has remained at the table to address any
issues. He immediately apologizes and rushes the steak back to the kitchen to correct
the issue. He promptly returns with a complimentary appetizer so that you and
your date can begin eating together. Before you know it, your new steak is delivered
to the table. Again, the server stays to ensure that it is cooked to your liking. Th is
time it is. You are delighted that it was solved so eff ortlessly. You are asked if there
is anything he can get for you. Your response is no. At that point, your check is
placed on the table and you are told that there is no rush but that it can be settled at
any time that you would prefer. You fi nish your dinner pleasantly and arrive at your
show in plenty of time.
Shortcomings will occasionally occur. When they do, good service can help to
make them much more bearable. Remember that good service can make up for other
problems, but those other items cannot make up for bad service. Even if the steak was
prepared perfectly, the guest would have worried about making the show on time. No
matter how great things are, good service must be present.
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE OF SERVICE
While each business is slightly diff erent, most hospitality businesses off er a generic
product. Nearly every:
■hotel off ers a bed in a private room with a bath.
■restaurant delivers a meal with seating.
■theatre has seats and a stage with performances.
■airlineflies you from a gate at one city to the next.
Of course there are diff erent styles, settings, shapes, and colors, but what really
makes the diff erence is the specifi c service of the business or establishment. Th is idea
can generally be applied to all businesses that off er guest individual service. Th e tangibles
and logistics can be copyrighted but are quickly replicated. Employees and
managers transfer among brands, and companies benchmark each others’ ideas. What
competitors have the most difficulty with is replicating the individual service experience.
All businesses realize that they need to be nice to the guest and deliver quality guest
service, but a few rise above the rest and actually consistently meet or exceed guests’
expectations. Some boast of this as part of their brand marketing and use it as a competitive
advantage. One such example is the Ritz Carlton Hotel chain. Th is company
has based its strategy on providing exceptional customer service. As a result, it has twice
won a prestigious Malcolm Baldrige Award for quality excellence. Much planning,
training, and preparation resulted in standards that are copied throughout many industries.
Most notable is their motto stating: “We are Ladies and Gentleman serving Ladies
and Gentleman.” Th is statement gives the employees a high status, leading them to take
pride in their positions while treating the guests with the expected high standards.
They also have a credo telling the employees to “fulfill even the unexpressed
wishes of our guests.” Th e customers are referred to as “guests.” Th e services provided
“So I see that you
were a trainer for
10 Chapter 1 The Basics of Guest Service
are “wishes” that are fulfilled, and the employees should anticipate the needs above and
beyond those verbalized.
Ritz Carlton also implements empowerment to a high degree. Their service values
include statements such as: “I own and immediately solve guest problems.” It does not
matter who caused the issue or what department it is in, the employee owns the problem
and will see to it that it is solved immediately.
Th e Ritz Carlton goes on to train their employees to think about the big picture.
Another service value tells employees to, “build strong relationships and create Ritz
Carlton guests for life.”
Th e Ritz Carlton also trains its employees on the basics of service with the “Three
Steps of Service,” including:
1. A warm and sincere greeting. Use the guest’s name.
2. Anticipation and fulfillment of the guest’s needs.
3. Fond farewell. Give a warm good-bye and use the guest’s name (Th e Ritz-Carlton).
BAD NEWS TRAVELS FAST
Advertisements show happy customers and boast about award-winning service, but
how convincing is that compared with the testimony of a friend sharing his or her
personal experience? These experiences have an especially great impact when they are
about bad service. When a customer goes away unhappy, they are far more likely to tell
another about their experience.
A woman and her friend were fi nishing their meal at a small café when she asked the
waitress if they had decaffeinated tea. Th e woman informed the waitress that, because
of health reasons, she could not have caffeine. Th e waitress replied that she wasn’t sure
but would check to see. Th e waitress quickly returned to the table and informed the customer
that they only had regular, caffeinated tea. Th e customer, prepared for this situation
because she enjoys tea and cannot have caffeine, requested a cup of hot water and
took a decaffeinated teabag out of her purse. A few minutes later the bill came and she
saw a miscellaneous charge of $2.00 on her bill. Th e woman inquired about the miscellaneous
charge to the waitress who replied that the manager assesses a $2.00 charge for
hot water. This wasverified after the manager came to the table. Despite the reasoning,
the manager simply ignored her feelings regarding the matter. Granted, it was
only a small charge, but it wasn’t about the money. As it turns out, the customer
was a group session counselor at the local Weight Watchers Center. She told everyone
in her classes about the situation. She vented and they became worked up for her cause.
Those people went home and told others, who told others, and so on. Th is small café was
dependent on the population from the small community. They will likely see the result
of this seemingly insignifi cant incident amounting to much more damage than $2.00.
“Bad news travels quickly” is a common expression. A customer will tell people,
and those people may tell other people, who may tell more people, and so on. By some
accounts, customers will share a bad experience with 8 to 10 people . Th e actual number
varies, but a commonly accepted notion is that a guest who has a poor experience
will tell several others and the word will continue to spread Occasionally, someone
receiving poor service has a large audience, as in the story above. Online ratings are
especially important because of the potential audience size or “reach” of the postings.
Th ere are reasons why bad news travels so quickly. Perhaps these customers weren’t
heard or they want revenge; other reasons come to mind. Below is a list of reasons why
bad news travels quickly to help explain the reasoning behind this phenomenon:
1. Th e customer still needed to vent . Customers need to be afforded the chance to
express themselves. Venting is a normal part of the customer service process.
Customers will need to share if they believe they weren’t given the opportunity
to be heard or understood. As a result, they recount their experiences to
anyone and everyone who will listen.
2. Customers may seek revenge . If customers believe they have been wronged, they
want to get even. When people feel as though they haven’t received what
they had expected and paid for, they feel the need to level the playing fi eld. They
tell friends and write poor reviews or anything else that justifies their pain and loss.
3. Customers remember unusual events . Because we have so many experiences
throughout life, we fi lter the mediocrity from our brains. Customers continually
take in information and fi lter all but the most unusual, emotional, or
important of information. They tend to forget usual, typical, or mediocre experiences.
If the guest experience was just OK or even good, people are not as
likely to share the experience because it is deemed insignifi cant by their memories
and is quickly forgotten.
4. People love to repeat extreme events . Really great and really bad events are more
interesting and therefore more worthy of sharing with others.
5. People can relate to these incidences . Everyone has been wronged at some time.
Bad news is particularly worth sharing because it has a sense of wronging that
others can easily connect to.
6. Service organizations and employees appear impersonal . Talking about people may
be seen as gossip, and criticizing others may be seen as unforgiving and impolite.
However, talking about businesses is fair game. Businesses appear as large, nonhuman
entities. Employees can easily be lumped into this same, disconnected
state. Since they have no human connection, they can be easily blamed and criticized.
While humans may make mistakes, businesses are faceless. Hotels, casinos,
restaurants, and their employees are not seen as real people with feelings.
Each service encounter is important. Every time a customer is wronged is an opportunity
for bad news to travel quickly. Management and staff should keep this in mind
in their daily operations by imparting this knowledge upon their employees through
training, and then monitoring their performance to ensure the point is remembered.
THE VALUE OF A RETURNING CUSTOMER
Imagine running a small restaurant, with a loyal customer base of 800 who eat at your
establishment once a week. Out of a small town and surrounding area totaling 100,000
people, you have successfully captured just under 1% of them. You don’t need to market,
because you already have all the customers you need. You and your staff quickly
learn all of their names because they are all repeat customers and you don’t need to
attract anyone new. You know the likes and dislikes of these regulars, and can tailor
12 Chapter 1 The Basics of Guest Service
the experience to precisely meet their needs. You know how many to staff for and how
much food to prepare. You run at maximum efficiency and reap the rewards.
While this would be an ideal situation, the truth is, it is never that easy. Loyal,
return customers are highly sought-after prizes. Businesses spend infinite amounts
of money attracting customers and then undervalue them as they arrive and experience
the product . They are often treated as if it is the fi rst and last time they will ever
be seen. A return customer costs far less to keep than obtaining a new one. Businesses
should spend less money attracting customers and more eff ort retaining the ones that
HISTORY OF SERVICE IN THE UNITED STATES
Th e history of customer service is not very old, at least from a scientifi c management
point of view. References discuss innkeepers being hospitable and tavern owners keeping
people happy, but the application of scientifi c methods to the art of customer service
has expanded into what it is now only within the past 100 years.
Within that time, the United States has seen ages of change advance relatively
quickly. We have transitioned from an agrarian society to a service society in just about
the past 100 years. It is unlikely that either agriculture or industry will ever return as it
once was, so the age of service should be present for quite some time.
Age of Service
The current age in the
United States. As
the United States
lost its manufacturing
jobs, they were
replaced with servicerelated
“They spend so much
money on obtaining
new customers and
nothing on keeping
the old ones.”
Age of manufacturing : Originally, the United States was largely an agricultural
nation. It evolved into a thriving manufacturing nation but then quickly lost
its dominance to other nations. A large portion of the management techniques
used in the service industries have been adopted from manufacturing, which
dominated the literature before the late 1900s.
Age of service : At present, the U.S. economy is comprised largely of service organizations.
As the United States lost many of its manufacturing jobs to other
countries, it began replacing them with service-related jobs.
Age of technology : Coupled with service, the United States also saw a boom in analog,
then digital technology in the 1980s and 1990s. Th is heavily influenced the
way that businesses operate. Business functions were expedited by computerization.
Customers enjoyed the many new conveniences associated with technology.
Age of communication :While service continues to dominate the economy and
employment of the United States, the advances and proliferation of technology
spurred a new phenomenon of communication. Never before could so much
information be so readily available so cheaply and easily. Th is spread of communication
has forever changed the way that customer service operates in the
United States and the world. Suppliers, businesses, and customers can now all
communicate in real time and have the ability to access each other’s records.
A bad-service situation, such as an airline attendant berating fliers, a foodborne
outbreak at a restaurant, or bedbugs in a hotel can now be seen around the
world instantly. Customers’ opinions can now be accessed by other potential
customers, for better or worse.
Most Popular Sharing Websites
❍Digital Pictures (Flickr, Picasa)
Age of Technology
Another recent age in
the U.S. The increase
and dominance of
technology in U.S.
culture and business
The service economy
combined with proliferation
created an age in
which services can
can be accessed
cheaply, and ratings
can be found easily.
FIGURE 1.1 Ages of Change in the United States.
Age of Technology
Age of Service
Age of Manufacturing
Age of Agriculture
14 Chapter 1 The Basics of Guest Service
Sporting events could poll their fans on their cell phones. Conference attendees
could tweet by use of a hash tag. New hotel guests could be recognized and their preferences
known before they utter a single word.
BACKGROUND OF SERVICE
Until recently, a majority of people lived in relatively small neighborhoods where everyone
knew each other. Traditionally, workers had a craft or trade. They took pride in their
craft, so quality and service was natural. As a few businesses became larger, the smaller
businesses could not compete with lower prices of the bigger businesses. Th e small
craftsman went out of business. As more and more people began working for an hourly
wage for big-businesses, craftsmen began to lose their sense of neighborhood and craft.
More and more, a job was simply a job, and only a means to earn money. Th e idea of a
proud, neighborhood craftsman was lost .
Th is forever changed the idea and tradition of service. Management also changed
toreflect the progression. Rewards, motivations, standard operating procedures, and
punishments reduced craftsman to a subhuman standards. Trust in employees dwindled
and customer service suffered. Good economic times, coupled with an increase in
disposable income, only made the situation worse. It wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s
that management began to change and treat humans as a resource, spawning the now
common phrase, “human resource.”
Since the end of World War II in the late 1940s, Americans developed a “need
for speed.” Th e world began to want and need all things fast. Th is cultural phenomenon
also changed the way that the hospitality service industry operated. Th is shift
gave way to an explosion of fast food, fast travel, fast service, and fast communication.
Customers could be impulsive, and expectations increased. Suddenly, speed was added
to the list of quality, comfort, personalization, and price.
Th e past two decades have also spawned the recent increase in self-service. Has
the replacement of computers in customer service really made things better, or are they
worse? At present, we have self-service at many places that we now take for granted,
Over time, customers have adapted and the playing fi eld has changed. Consider
the following service examples of just 20 years:
■Most all banking was done through bank tellers.
■Only a few ATMs existed, and many customers did not trust them.
■No Internet banking existed.
■Self check-outs did not exist, and bar-code technology was not yet standardized.
■Shopping was done in stores or through mail-order catalogs.
■Reviews were read in newspapers, magazines, and travel booklets.
■No smart phones or “apps” existed.
■People went to the movie theatre to see a new release.
■Air travel was booked only through airlines or a travel agent.
■Hotel reservations were booked through reservations agents or travel agents.
Things have certainly changed. Th e idea of self-service is now ubiquitous. It has
provided the industry with both advantages and disadvantages. Below is a list of each.
■Increased speed of service
■Loss of human interaction
■Subject to input error
■Difficulty fi xing errors
■Unfamiliar with technology
■Unfamiliar with process
■Uncertainty of transaction
Despite the loss of the craftsman, the need for speed, and the increase in selfservice,
quality customer service remains the cornerstone of the hospitality industry.
We seldom refer to total quality management or customer quality initiatives in recent
times, but the techniques are still used to this day. Guest service has evolved but still
continues to be an underlying assumption of the hospitality industry. It continues to
set businesses apart from one another. Most businesses claim to have a passion for
service, but only a few do it exceptionally well. When a business masters customer service,
that service truly becomes a strategic advantage.
16 Chapter 1 The Basics of Guest Service
LEGENDS IN SERVICE MANAGEMENT
Instructions: Apply your change process to the following four-step process:
W. Edwards Deming: Total Quality Management
Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a talented statistician and management consultant, is
considered to be a leader in the customer service movement because of his work
with the total quality management (TQM) movement. While most of his earlier
work was attributed to manufacturing, his eff orts have been transferred to nonmanufacturing,
including the hospitality industry. TQM management is an eff ort
geared toward promoting quality products through many methods, including suppliers,
employees, and management working together.
Dr. Deming tried to lend his talents to the U.S. manufacturing industries but
his advice went unheeded. After World War II, Deming approached the Japanese
with his ideas of applying statistics to automotive manufacturing. They accepted
and embraced his ideas. He helped the Japanese automakers implement “continuous
process improvement.” As a result, the 1980s saw Japanese cars dominate the
U.S. market, while domestic cars were left suffering. Deming was very direct at
involving the employees in the process. He showed them that management cared
and that they should also care about the product. He later involved the customers
in the process. As a result, the Japanese automotive industry went from last to fi rst.
Th e TQM movement advanced and was re-popularized throughout the
1990s, but then lost steam as the economy improved and customer service had
less of an impact because businesses did well regardless.
Dr. Deming was also popular for his Deming Cycle, most commonly referred
to as the Plan–Do–Check–Act (PDCA) Cycle . Th is is a four-step process for
implementing change, or, continuous improvement. It is useful for incremental or
breakthrough improvement. It promotes the idea that a business can always improve.
cycle. A four-step
process for instituting
Photo courtesy of
Dr. W. Edwards Deming
FIGURE 1.2 Plan–Do–
Check–Act (PDCA) Cycle.
Act Plan 1. Plan
■Determine the appropriate
■Organize to conduct the
●Defi ne problem.
●Collect and review data.
■Test the change.
●Change as needed.
■Implement the change.
■Measure the eff ects of the
■Take action according to the
●Standardize and formalize.
●Promote the change
5. Start back at step 1, making it a
Joseph Juran was credited as being the Father of Quality Service. A friend and colleague
of W. Edwards Deming, Dr. Juran also helped to introduce quality to the
Japanese. He fi rst spoke to Japanese managers in a series of 1954 lectures promoting
quality. He was a lecturer and business consultant in over 40 diff erent countries.
He published the Quality Control Handbook, among other texts. He established the
Juran Institute to help develop and test new quality assessment tools. Steve Jobs,
founder of Apple Computers, credited Dr. Juran’s “deep, deep contribution” to the
advance of quality.
Later in the Quality movement, Philip Cosby was originally a quality manager for
International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) before leaving and setting up his own
consulting fi rm in 1979. He published a well-known book, Quality is Free . He was
able to show that quality programs would save much more money than they cost.
He is popularized for DRIFT (do it right the fi rst time) and Zero Defects. DRIFT
was originally derived from manufacturing. It is an idea that promoted processes and
procedures that ran smoothly and efficiently, thus, doing it right the fi rst time. Th is
reduced wasted, repeats, comps, and the need for service recovery eff orts. Th is followed
with the notion that, “if you don’t have time to do it right the fi rst time, how
will you ever have time to do it over?”
Tom Peters: Management by Walking Around (MBWA)
Author of numerous books, including In Search of Excellence , and a presenter and business
consultant, Dr. Peters was one of the fi rst and most influential gurus of contemporary
management. He has advocated for service excellence through practical means.
MBWA is a simple but highly eff ective premise that managers should spontaneously
walk around and talk to their staff and customers. Paperwork and other tasks prevented
managers from walking around the department or property. MBWA promotes
listening and qualitative assessment. Th e management can stay in touch with the staff
and customers and identify problems and seek solutions more eff ectively than sitting
in the office and looking at reports.
Commonly known as the Father of Modern Management, Peter Drucker was
an author and management guru who advocated for the human side as opposed to
the numbers. He was popular for ideas such as “management by objectives” and the
“knowledge worker.” He was very interested in the concept of permitting workers to
think for themselves. He made many predictions, some of which came true. He, too,
helped the Japanese and was also involved in helping General Motors.
Doing it right the
first time. A quest
to reduce errors and
inefficiencies so that
you won’t have to
fi x as many things
and pay the price
for producing a poor
Idea that managers
should “get in touch”
with the employees
and customers to
learn what is really
18 Chapter 1 The Basics of Guest Service
In 1967, technology for the quartz watch was presented to the world at a watch
trade show. The Swiss, who had led fi ne watch-making for decades, dismissed the
idea as being insignifi cant because they believed that it wasn’t how watches were
supposed to be made. Despite being cheaper and having fewer mechanical parts,
it went against the watch-making belief, or paradigm. The Japanese saw the quartz
technology as a new way to make watches; they saw the potential. They saw it as a
new way of making watches, or a paradigm shift, and embraced it. Two years later, in
1969, Seiko introduced the fi rst commercially available quartz watch. It caught on so
well that the Swiss forever lost their hold on the traditional watch market.
A paradigm is a belief that is commonly accepted as being the proper way or method
that something is to be done. This was popularized by Thomas Kuhn in 1962. Th is
promoted “thinking outside the box,” in which a paradigm was considered to be “the
box.” Th e idea of a paradigm shift became very popular with the quality movement.
Th e cliché of thinking outside the box is still very popular today. For example, fastfood
giant Taco Bell has a mainstream advertising campaign encouraging customers to
“think outside the bun,” imparting the idea that fast food doesn’t have to be burgers.
MOMENT OF TRUTH
Th e concept of the moment of truth was fi rst popularized by Jan Carlzon of SAS
Airlines. Jan theorized that a service experience is comprised of many diff erent
moments of truth at which customer service is either made or lost. Diff erent situations
have varying amounts of moments of truth . For example, a quick-service restaurant
may have three to fi ve, but a resort hotel may have several hundred. In breaking down
the experience into moments of truth, management and employees can better analyze,
realize, and monitor the crucial points in the process.
Moment of Truth
A point of service
at which customer
service is either
made or lost.
Th e public—the most important people in our business. They are not dependent on us—
we are dependent on them. They are not an interruption of our work. They are the purpose
of it. We are not doing them a favor by serving them—they are doing us a favor by
giving us an opportunity to serve them. They are not outsiders in our business—they are
our business! They are not a cold statistic—they are flesh and blood, human beings with
feelings and emotions, likes and dislikes. They are not there to argue with or match wits
with, or try to outsmart. No one ever wins an argument with the public. Th e public—
people who bring us their wants. It is our job to handle their requirements so pleasantly
and so helpfully that they return again and again.
—Gold, C. 1983. SOLID GOLD CUSTOMER RELATIONS.
New York: Prentice Hall.
Case Studies 19
A Loyal Following
A loyal following is very important. Giving customers what they want, when they want it, and
how they want it can produce a great following. This has been extremely evident in the following
performances. DJs, niche bands, and other events have struck a chord with the public to
produce overwhelming results.
An example of this was the band the Grateful Dead. Led by Jerry Garcia, the Grateful
Dead formed in 1965 and played over 2300 concerts until Garcia’s death in 1995. The legend
of their music was much more than a performance. It gave society what it needed at a
crucial time in California. They were part of the hippie movement of peace and performed
more free concerts than any other band in history. It struck such a chord in society that few
bands are even close to having the same impact on their fan base. Loyal followers, or Dead
Heads, as they were called, would follow the band anywhere they performed. They were easily
spotted by their tie-dyed shirts and famous dead art, including dancing bears, Uncle Sam
skeletons, and a Red, White, and Blue “Stealie Skull” with a lightning bolt going through it.
People would camp out for days before a concert and follow the band for lengthy periods.
Networks were established. Fans traded and exchanged information regarding performances
and band news like no other band at that time. All of this happened before Twitter, texting,
and Facebook. There were crowds of tens of thousands at nearly every performance. Tickets
werediffi cult to obtain, no matter what the going rate. People weren’t just entertained by the
Grateful Dead; they knew and loved the band, its members, and its music. For most of the
fans, it was a lifestyle.
1. List the customer traits of a Dead Head.
2. How did the band differentiate itself from the competition?
3. What did the band do to produce such a loyal following before the age of
CHAPTER REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is the definition of quality guest service ?
2. Why do some customers choose not to complain?
3. What “Age of Change” are we currently in?
4. List fi ve examples of self-service that you have used in the past week.
5. How did Deming help the Japanese?
6. Why do we tend to forget certain events while remembering others?
7. When did the need for speed become popular in the United States?
8. Why does bad service still exist?
9. Who is the Father of Quality Service?
10. Who is the Father of Modern Management?
20 Chapter 1 The Basics of Guest Service
Club Me is a new dance club in a downtown area, in close proximity to a three colleges. It is
located in an old factory building. It has a loft, balcony, and many cool private areas around the
sides of the dance floor. Its main target market is the students attending the three local colleges.
Dance clubs are a very competitive market in this area. Loyalty does not exist. The students
can decide to go to one club or another within an instant and the whole scene changes.
Club Me was off to a great start. It was new and fresh and fun and had a mass of
people waiting to get in, which only made more people want to get in. They had a great lineup
of DJs and regularly held contests with giveaways. It was packed every night of the week,
and Club Me became more and more crowded. At fi rst, it was a fun, packed atmosphere. As
time passed and crowds continued to grow, it became apparent that Club Me couldn’t adequately
handle the crowd. This became apparent when a fi ght broke out in one of the private
areas, when one woman attacked another. Security was stationed at the door, the dance
floor, and the bar, but had little notice of the secluded areas, which were largely ignored.
When a security guard was told there was a fi ght between two women, he smirked and said,
“Cool, a chick fi ght.” He did not call for back up, thinking it was just an argument. By the
time he responded, a woman was beaten to the point of unconsciousness while others just
watched. She had to be taken out in an ambulance and remained in critical condition. The
club had failed to react to the incident to the point of neglect.
Club Me quickly hired more trained security, but the crowds stopped coming. This news had
spread throughout the club scene. Females didn’t feel safe. When the females stopped coming,
so did the males. They felt unprotected against attacks and they stopped going to Club Me.
1. Why did large crowds go to Club Me?
2. How had Club Me met customer expectations?
3. How had Club Me failed to meet customer expectations?
4. How can Club Me change the attitudes of their target market?
Chivo’s Banquet Hall
Chivo’s Banquet Hall is a landmark. It is a family-owned establishment that boasts the offerings
of the Chivo family. Nearly everyone in the immediate and extended family can be found
there during an event. The Chivos are very proud of their establishment. Mama Chivo, as she
is called, can be found running the front-of-the-house operations. It is not uncommon to fi nd
her giving orders to her staff, hugging and kissing repeat guests, and even offering advice to
attendees. She is a true old-style Mama.
Mr. Chivo runs the food. He is a proud chef. He is very passionate about his work.
Occasionally he and Mama will have an argument over the best way to serve an event. Mama
usually wins and Chef Chivo retreats into the kitchen.
Chef Chivo’s way of ensuring customer satisfaction is by walking around the room in his
chef’s attire. After the food has been served, Chef Chivo works the room and stops by every
table. He asks everyone at each table if they liked the event and the food. Everyone always
says that everything is great. He looks at everyone’s plates. If it is empty, he directly asks
them if they would like more. If it has food on it he asks them what was wrong with it. He puts
people directly on the spot. People almost always tell him there is no problem at all. He looks
at them suspiciously and shakes his head letting them know that he is offended. Sometimes
he will tell them that they need to eat more and that they look thin, even if they are not.
CASE STUDIES continued
Case Studies 21
1. Describe the tone of guest service at Chivo’s Banquet Hall.
2. Critique Chef Chivo’s unique style of customer service.
3. What are some likely reasons why the Chivos seldom hear complaints?
4. If you could give the Chivos advice regarding customer service, what would it be?
Mount Will is a small, steep mountain. It features skiing and snowboarding in the winter
and offers other extreme opportunities throughout the rest of the year. It is known for having
the most extreme offerings to make up for its small size. Its motto is “Little mountain, big
adrenaline.” Mount Will attracts many visitors who want a special challenge in a mountain
experience. Luckily, it’s located beside a major highway and is highly visible to people traveling
through the area. The managers try to change the options every year to keep it fresh. This
year, they have arranged for a company to bring in a large crane to allow bungee jumping
right next to the highway. Everyone passing by could watch the falls, and it would be great for
publicity. They negotiated a great price with the subcontractor and are pleased to offer this
Unfortunately, Mount Will has not been very successful this year. Very few people have
dared to brave the bungee jump, and their overall attendance is down for the season. Feeling
the pressure in the loss of revenue, Scott, the Mountain Manager, decides to set up a small
booth at a local grocery store to promote the event and hand out coupons. People are typically
polite but he doesn’t count it a success.
He decides to go out front to the crane by the road to discuss this matter with them.
What he sees amazes him. There is a different view from the highway. The front of the contractor’s
crane looks dingy and dull. The cables appear rusty. The staff are unshaven and dressed
poorly. Upon mentioning it, he is told that the cables are more than adequate and that it is only
surface rust. The crane was inspected by the state and it passed the quality tests. Still, Scott
is concerned with the image. He now realizes the issue.
1. As a customer, list your expectations of a bungee-jumping crew and equipment.
2. What are the thoughts of potential customers passing by on the highway?
3. How could the expectations of the potential customers best be met?
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