Over lunch at the Belfast Hilton on Wednesday, I was chatting with Sian, the young lady who had checked us in to the hotel the previous evening.
I asked her what training Hilton had provided when she joined the company as a receptionist.
“The first week was at a central training location in Wembley” she replied “I attended a residential course where we spent our time role-playing customer registration at a mock-up desk and we were also given a laptop computer that contained the 20-steps in the registration process that make up the Hilton Brand Standard.”
“I was then to spend the next 3 years working at a Hilton Hotel in Bucks, where I did on-site training with experienced staff. After that, I returned to Belfast to take up my post.”
I asked her to explain a little more about the “Hilton Brand Standard”.
“Every department has it’s own brand standard – a protocol that we are expected to follow. At reception, we have our 20-step process, which includes making eye contact, checking to see if the customer has stayed at the hotel before and, if so, welcoing them back – and making sure we use the customer’s name at least 3 times during the registration process.”
“The concierge team have their own brand standard. So do the conference team, restaurant team, housekeeping and everyone else.”
I asked whether this brand standard was available in printed form.
“Yes – every department has the brand standard manual to refer to.”
And that, of course, is why we use Hilton for most of our workshop venues, why I use Pizza Express when I eat “on the road”, why I have my hair cut at Tony & Guy.
Because franchise businesses offer a consistent customer service experience – I can trust the brand.
I’ve been thinking about this conversation all week.
In dentistry, there are very rarely any training manuals or practice protocols – and there can be resistance to ceating them because it just seems like more paperwork. Often the response I hear is:
“why do we need to do this – Mary has been on reception for years and she knows what to do – we just ask new team members to stand next to Mary and observe”
- the system Mary uses may be the system that worked 10 years ago – but not now – the market changes;
- Mary is resistant to change – because she likes things just the way they are;
- Mary has the wisdom of experience to deal with the odd questions and events but hasn’t written them down;
- Mary gets sick;
- Mary leaves;
- Mary loses her mojo;
- Mary doesn’t get along personally with the new receptionist.
Create brand standards for every department in your business. Just like the big boys.
It’s a subject I’ll be addressing with my own team.
And I already know that the howls of protest from clients who say “we haven’t got the time” will create a business opportunity for me.
If new hairdressers go to a Tony & Guy Academy – why don’t new receptionists go to The Dental Business School Academy?