Guest services in the Netherlands vs Emerging Countries
Is this a hype, or could it be that we as Dutch are really being more guest oriented? Words such as guest services, hostmanship, service provider, Chief Customer Officer, customer relations are abundantly prevalent in all kinds of marketing communications.
(Beware: we believe in the philosophy of the Hostmanship Group, and advise every company to use their knowledge and experience, and implement those in your company. http://www.hostmanship.nl/)
Sayings such as most customer focused company, the client is our centre of attention, for the people, by the people, only the best is good enough for our guests, can be heard at many occasions.
But at the same time these values are being violated
• When claiming to be the most customer focused company, a no name policy is being used
• When they say: “the client is our centre of attention”, they offer you coffee before you have the time to take off your coat, and sit down.
• Or a telephone service that wants to be at your disposal, but in order to reach it, you have to tackle their menu before you have the chance to speak to someone.
These may seem like small details, but if the client is really the centre of your attention, and you are paying attention to the guest service, these processes, procedures and content cannot prevail.
What is the definition of guest services, explained in three steps.
1. Hospitality is the relation between guest, hostess and host. It also means the act of being hospitable. This specifically means that the guest is being welcomed and entertained during his/ her stay. The word guest may equally be replaced by words such as: a visitor, client, a customer, passenger, patient, etc.
2. Hosting guests is there is no clear cut definition for hosting guests to be given. If you focus on the guest counseling aspect, guests are being welcomed at the place of arrival, and are brought to their respective destinations. It may happen that transportation stops at different locations. After the arrival on location, guests are generally being transferred to the staff on location. While doing so, the guidance on offer is restricted to the check – in, the reception of the key, and possibly accompanying the guest to his room. Within the first interaction, the host in question is the first port of call for the guest. However, during the stay, in some cases, not the only port of call.
3. Guest services is a service starting from the big picture down to the fine details. It is considered a gift if you can see both the big picture and the small details. Guest services has got some similarities just like cultural differences and cannot be considered as just a side dish. It is core to your business activities and relationship building. You act as a host and the guests act as a guest.
When I think of guest service, I think of Dubai: The exclusive Burj Al Arab is an all-suite hotel that encompasses 28 double stories to create the 202 luxury duplexes of superior standard. The unrivalled personalized service is a signature mark of Burj Al Arab. Butlers are in attendance 24 hours a day to address the needs of each and every guest. The staff consists of 1,600 colleagues from 75 countries, all working in Burj Al Arab, which makes the staff-to-suite ratio 8:1. It is one of the highest in the world, ensuring a personalized service, continuous care and luxury pampering is experienced by all guests.
The 7 star hotel and 7 star+ service. – This means ‘over the top,’ great service, making us proud of staff from different nationalities to support all guests in their needs and expectations – this also amounts to over the top pricing but every moment of the day, you will get a WOW experience. This is something you will never forget, you will feel special and well taken care of.
What are you doing to ensure that you are that 7 star business with the 7 star+ service?
You already read in the explanation of guest service that there are different levels acting on your behalf.
1 Your business – your image – Being the host while doing international business
2 Your employees – expertise and knowledge
3 Suppliers of transport in between locations and the locations itself.
In Asia, you will notice the same hospitality of people, Asians are really friendly and have an eye for details just like in Dubai. They are more service minded, it’s in their culture (collectivism) and the staff – to guest ratio is much higher.
If you like to implement the same guest services level in the Netherlands as in Asia or any other emerging country, I will tell you it is impossible.
First of all, because of our culture and mindset,
Secondly, because of our wages.
Third comes the economic crisis, cutting down all costs including experienced staff.
On the other hand, I am embracing the crisis because it forces companies in the Netherlands to really care for their customers and feel the urge to take care of their business relations and partners. The Dutch did lose focus on the fact that their clients, guests, customers are the ones paying their salary every month.
No one else is more important in business then your costumer. Let them feel that they are.
I mentioned before it is impossible to produce the same level of service as in emerging countries, but it is never black or white if you want to succeed in business, for every problem or challenge, there is a solution or opportunity. It all starts with awareness.
Guest services is an attitude, it does not involve one particular skill, character or talent, and it’s about
engaging your business relation
unlocking what they want or need
Connecting with them to make their stay unique from the first moment they land on Dutch soil until they leave. Take full responsibility to build a long lasting fruitful business relationship.
To do so, it all starts with
• Being a champion at what you do
• Provide a surprise – A WOW experience
• Initiative – Make the effort
Make an emotional connection with a real person, be aware of your own cultural perspective, needs and expectations; they are totally different to the business relations from emerging countries.
My perfect example is the 7* hotel in Dubai or the Lake Kenyir Resort in Malaysia, my example of a top guest service from the big picture to small detail, every step of my stay and most importantly, fully focused to doing business and building the relationship not only for today but also 10 years from now.
Want to know more about building successful international business relations?
Bad experiences will have an effect on your business deal and how to avoid it?
With all the topics we discussed and shared knowledge, you can become better in filling out the needs and expectations of your business relations.
When participating in our online education program as betatester and finish all 4 modules you can start over again, you will listen to all the modules in a different way, more wise and more service minded.
The online version will be supported by real practical examples of companies who did do business before with people from a certain background you are specifically interested in.
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