The Power Of Thank You!

I loved this piece from Robert J Nyman on HotelInteractive. We make a point at Chanters Lodge to write to each and every Guest, or their agent, following their stay, thanking them for choosing our lodge, and indeed do so in our reservation confirmations as well.

As a child I was brought up to fear the consequences from my parents of not saying ‘thank you’, and indeed ‘thank you’ letters were a frequent chore! It’s much easier now with e mail.

As far as the staff are concerned the Chanters Girls are very good at replying ‘you’re welcome’ when Guests and visitors thank them for their great service! I also try to make it a point to thank the staff for their long hours and hard work – often on our regular Sunday night radio show – nothing like letting the public know you appreciate the great work of the staff! And public support for that matter!

“Call me old fashioned or maybe even fashionable these days, but you can decide once you take the following into consideration.  Business is tough enough without making waves, or so I am told, but when did saying ‘Thank You’ become so difficult for us to realize the most basic of common courtesies?  I know each day in the restaurants and hotels we visit,  I  continue to be amazed at the amount of different types of people I interface with and how I am greeted, spoken to (or not) and what happens when I initiate a conversation with them.  I know we are all busy and caught up with our own life and issues – but there is no excuse for not being personable or polite, as we in the ‘Hospitality Industry.’  When did Please, Thank You and You’re Welcome go out of style or leave our daily vernacular? I have always believed a smile and simple polite greeting go a long way in our world and can make the difference. 

Recently, I needed to make an airline reservation using a certificate I had, that could not be used or booked online, which in today’s digital age many of us utilize.  So I called the reservation number and waited in the cue for an agent to answer my call.  The agent introduced herself as Judy and referred to me by Mr. Nyman, I then asked her to please call me Robert, which she then ‘thanked me for’ and continued to address me by my first name.  We finalized all of my reservation needs, then Judy thanked me for my business and then I thanked her for assisting me.  Before we both said goodbye, she asked if she could tell me something, she stated I was one of the few customers who took their time to say thank you in return!

It got me thinking; something I have always done and we continually train our clients’ staff to do is to thank the guest, but now I realize that is only half of the equation. When do we as restaurant and hotel guests thank the people who are taking care of us for the work they do, especially when they go out of their way to be helpful, polite or as some say the ‘extra mile?’

 My challenge is to change the persona of the Hospitality Industry and our guests/customers and make it a two way street, or should I say make it into a full equation.  Just like we didn’t say the phase ‘you know’ as an answer or comment when we were speaking to someone, until just a few years ago, maybe the words Please, Thank You and Your Welcome could become as prevalent in our business again as most of us were raised to say them.

In every pre-shift meeting you have with your staff, instead of just talking to the team, maybe use please to preface a request and when a staff member offers a comment, say thank you and maybe they will even start to say you’re welcome – if you start the ball rolling.  If you’re in a hotel and walking the guest room hallways, and see a housekeeper or maintenance person, a quick greeting and thank you, will most likely make their day, as they are one of the areas of the hotel that guests seem typically not to verbally acknowledge or get a simple greeting.  When you have your management or executive team assembled, make it a ‘brand standard’ to address each other with please versus just talking at one another and then a sincere thank you at the end of each conversation.  At the end of a shift or if a person is leaving for the day, rather than just say goodbye, go around and personally thank each team member and maybe they will do the same for their fellow workers or better yet  for your guests!

This might all sound corny to some of you, but remember, we are trying to change the perception and attitude for each and every person who dines in your restaurants, stays in your hotels, uses or buys your products but it will take some time, and if we learn to address each other first with common courtesy, it will become contagious.  Or just call me old fashioned and call it a day.