Why the attitude of your people is more important than ever

Based on my personal experiences over the last few days, its seems possible that the hotel and catering industry may have woken up to the realisation that good people can be more important in the user-experience than fancy architecture, fixtures, fittings and menus:

  • Friday morning – a working breakfast at the Doubletree Hilton close to Manchester’s Piccadilly station. The ground floor has been completely renovated since my last visit and the maitre di did at least inform us of what was about to happen – “full breakfast will be £17.95 per person – is that OK?” Interesting, isn’t it, that they have a standing instruction to mention that before a guest sits down? The decor is rather lovely and the breakfast was good – but the customer service from our 19-year old local girl was exceptional – nothing too much trouble and a super attitude to boot;
  • Friday evening – hosting the splendid David Moffett and Jayne Bandy from Australia, creators of The Ultimate Patient Experience and Phone Excellence Mastery. The original suggestion of dinner in central Manchester was over-ruled by yours truly, who decided that our guests would experience a typical night in my urban-village home of Hale, Cheshire. After a cheeky one at The Elk with my youngest daughter, we were off, up the hill to The Stamford in Bowdon, again recently renovated and a new gastro-pub restaurant and grill just opened. Surroundings and menu excellent (steak and ale pie for me) but best of all, a young team who nailed it in terms of appearance, performance and, most importantly, attitude. The place was packed (pay day, after all) but the smiles and the banter never stopped throughout;
  • Saturday evening – at Shrigley Hall, in the hills above Adlington, for our friends Jo and Andy Maitland’s 25th wedding anniversary – a private party with live music provided by their daughters and a home-spun playlist that had Annie and I dancing from 21:00 to 01:00. Throughout, one young man working the bar in the golf clubhouse, wringing in sweat as he kept up with our orders, always smiling, always busy, nothing too much trouble. Same again at breakfast the next morning, in a crowded restaurant full of bleary eyed party goers (not just our group but lots of wedding guests as well) – catering team buzzing about, leading people to tables and making sure they were happy. Best of all – on arrival the room we checked in to was depressing (you know how sometimes you walk into a hotel room and feel dead air and a gloomy atmosphere?). Annie popped back to reception and explained that we were disappointed. The lovely young lady on reception asked “is the room making you sad?” and, on confirmation of that, moved us into a super alternative.

I’m reading this back and it sounds as if we are party animals extraordinaire – our weekends don’t all look like that.

I speculate that not one of the fantastic young people we’ve met over the last few days was on a particularly high wage – we all know that the sectors involved are not renowned for their generosity.

However, good things came in three’s over the weekend – each of these organisations is doing something to recruit on attitude and train on skill.

Many is the time I have complained about expensive refurbishments spoiled by poor recruitment – perhaps we just got lucky over the weekend – or perhaps the sector has woken up to the demands of a more discerning customer base who are prepared to shop around for the best service?

Interestingly, I met with a client back in central Manchester yesterday afternoon, at Pot Kettle Black – a trendy coffee house in Barton Arcade, just off Deansgate – coffee, granola bar, surroundings excellent – customer service outstanding – attitude perfect.

I seem to be on a roll here.

None of the aforementioned places were cheap – far from it in fact.

Let’s talk about dentistry then shall we?

  • Savvy patients with disposable income and growing demands
  • More competitors looking for patients
  • Plenty of other things for patients to spend their money on
  • More product and service choice in dentistry

Can I suggest that we all need to be diligent in the examination of the patient experience delivered by our teams day after relentless day.


Never has that mantra been more important.

You can invest in your building, your interior decoration, your digital doodads and your courses but……

If you compromise on the behaviour of your people, you are in trouble.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.