Goats and Ponies

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On a recent trip to the North Georgia Mountains, I met Donna who shared her “Ponies and Goats” philosophy about people and I loved the connection to hospitality excellence in today’s intense world. “Ponies” are the people who take initiative and follow through with a caring attitude and responsive action. “Goats” are those that simply try to get the job done and perhaps even get away with doing less than the job requires. Donna relayed several examples of service experiences and how the “Ponies” made her a more loyal customer and how the “goats” aggravated her beyond belief and caused her to take her business elsewhere.

Why the difference and what motivates one to be a Pony or a Goat? It usually starts from the top and if the boss has a “Goat ” attitude toward employees then the employees will reflect that same attitude to guests. If a “Pony” is at the top, then guests and customers will benefit from greater experiences because they are part of great experiences in their work environment. Hospitality Leaders, employers and organizations can address the Pony /Goat syndrome through training on Guest Experience Management at both management and frontline levels and how each moment delivered in any service interaction can be enhanced . “Ponies” understand how both the procedural and personal sides of service flow together to yield perception on how to make the positive difference at each touchpoint. “Goats” usually only focus on the procedural side and don’t get as far as perception. Guests and customers end up dissatisfied and the employee feels that and is unsatisfied as well.

“Pony up” to hospitality excellence and don’t let service mishaps “get your goat!”