High notes, low notes, coughs, gulps, groans and deep sighs. Boredom, rudeness, reticence, enthusiasm, frustration ….
Wait a minute, back up. Enthusiasm? I was prepared for all of the rest when booking a hotel stay recently, but not enthusiasm.
However, one enthusiastic individual actually had a lilt in her voice, a sound and
a feeling that she was happy to be there.
Three of the four encounters I had featured everything but enthusiasm and I was delightfully surprised when it happened. In most cases, I was greeted without a greeting, with exasperation and annoyance, and even given the runaround. One person kept directing me elsewhere instead of answering my simple question. I had to work very hard to send them the business the owners said that they wanted.
In the yachting world, guests start off excited to talk to the voices that will be part of their experience. If the
voices do not share their excitement and in fact move a guest toward frustration or depression, chances are the experience will go aground. Crew cannot afford to seem annoyed by or not interested in guest desires, no matter what mood they may be in.
For me, the lilt was a breath of fresh air. She sensed my happiness and fed me even more. I did not get her name but she became famous to my ears that day. She cared, she responded, she focused and she appreciated. I was not just a number, but a customer that got her full attention in that moment. She smiled through each word. I could feel it in her voice. She answered my questions and added a little magic to my unmagical day.
I was grateful and amazed that one voice could ease the anxiety produced by the other less-pleasant interactions. What made her different and why?
Whether in a good mood or bad, before the holidays or after, consider what service moments do or don’t
happen when your moods take over.
- The Rush Syndrome: This includes the busy crew member who can barely breathe because he or she has so much to do. He or she is so absorbed in a task and desire to be efficient that the guest is left with a cold introduction, an abrupt transition and a poor first impression.
The solution is to focus on each word you utter during an initial welcome and understand the impact of cheating on those words. A greeting, said sincerely and not because of company policy, is essential. Instill a mantra of first touch, first impression and let your yacht team know how important this role is.
- Listen thoroughly to a guest’s request before moving them on to the next stop, and let them know it is a pleasure to do so. Even when your duties are piling up or if you are swamped with other responsibilities, don’t compromise the message and especially the impression. Address extra or other duty coverage when service starts to slip or moods dip.
- Everything but the Kitchen Sink: How about encounters that allow guests to hear coughing, wheezing, burps, gulps, yawns and sighs? These messy sound effects often take place when moods are not so great. They really take away from the business at hand and may cause a gust to turn away or miss valuable information. Guests and customers may also feel more anxious due to a perceived lack of attention or interest.
The Solution: Recognize that any interaction is actually an ear recital, too. The audience has paid full price to attend and is listening to everything. If one of these sound effects is imminent and cannot be controlled, cover your mouth with a hand or turn away. Show your guest that healthy attention is coming their way and that minding their business is the business at hand.
- The Moody Blues: What a difference a mood makes in the delivery of any message. Guests can tell if any crew member is having a good or a bad day just by the tone of their voice. Inspection of inflection can prevent guest infection. Most yacht owners would like to represent their frontline as those who are happy to get inquiries and in turn the business.
- The Solution: Keep a mirror handy and examine the mood projected during each moody moment. Most guests would be delighted to hear the energy of enthusiasm, the power of professionalism and the sincerity of a smile, taking service to the helm and tossing moody blues overboard.