Creating your brand standard

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”

  1. the system Mary uses may be the system that worked 10 years ago – but not now – the market changes;
  2. Mary is resistant to change – because she likes things just the way they are;
  3. Mary has the wisdom of experience to deal with the odd questions and events but hasn’t written them down;
  4. Mary gets sick;
  5. Mary leaves;
  6. Mary loses her mojo;
  7. 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?


Published by

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.