At Christmas time many employers dread the thought of trying to appear generous with their staff gifts, and wondering what to give. Then there is the fear of what to give according to the respective hierarchy of staff and managers, who gets what and will they be offended ?

It happens every year and each time less time is spent on planning it all until it becomes the dreaded job that nobody wants to do. Subsequently the act of giving and the unease that is felt behind it all is reflected in the staff not appreciating the process anyway. Indeed more damage can be done by giving a cheap and nasty gift, than by not giving any at all.

The solution is to start from the right mindset. Have an act of genuine appreciation for your staff at the outset and forefront of it all. Begin the planning of it 6 months ahead, and tease out some constructive answers from the staff early about what they may enjoy receiving, or if the concept could be adapted better to perhaps have an outing or party instead.


Many of the chain hotels and restaurants are keen to roll out their loyalty cards or their shareholder cards with percentage discounts.
These are wrong on two counts.

Firstly the customers who use them tend to wave them around like a VIP membership badge, and demand all sorts of nonsense from staff.

Secondly it immediately gives the impression that you have a two tier system for customers, important ones and not so important.

ALL customers are important, and if you have been applying the methods written about here on this site, you will have so many customers anyway that you will not need any loyalty cards as they will be beating a path to your door and would not dream of going anywhere else.


Imagine a scenario where the top students of any academy are beating a path to join your business. A scenario where the reputation you have of being such a caring nurturing corporation, has spread far and wide.

As a result the top young achievers recognise a worthy and fulfilling career path helping your business to succeed. The best students are seeking to come and work with you as they recognise the efforts you make in striving to be the best in your field of service. If you think this is far fetched or stretching the imagination, then ask yourself why.

It is possible and it should be happening. Giving great service is an art and one that is lacking in today's short term focused corporate world. By being the best and letting customers tell everyone else that you are the best only carries forth into the marketplace that you are innovative and a leader in your business field. Before too long the fact that you are attracting the top new talents to come and work with you directly from colleges will only strengthen your calibre of staff further and propel the business to ever greater heights.

All it takes is the vision and the will to make it so.


It is quite simple when you analyse it.

When you have happy employees then they make your customers happy by readily giving superior service. The happy customers in turn do not go anywhere else and tell others about you thereby increasing the business and profits.

So ask yourself how you can start to make your staff happy and begin the process of making your business great. Better still ask them for ideas. You may be surprised by the answers but I am willing to bet your business will grow as a result.
Ensure that this new philosophy is directly connected to everthing you do and write within the business and soon your employees will be worthy champions of great service.


We spend our working day often seeing an environment from a different viewpoint to that of our customers.

In a restaurant the servers are on their feet, yet the customers are predominantly seated. In a hotel the customers sleep in beds but the staff never do. There are countless other examples I could bring to note here but the subject remains constant. The customer is always seeing your business from a different perspective to the one you often see.

So in order to spot any faults, or ways in which the service could be improved you need to habitually have your managers sleep in the hotel beds, sit at the restaurant tables, use the service as a customer does. Only then will you spot the faulty lampshades, the dirty picture frames, the lengthy call queues when a customer rings your reception.

Very often it is these small things which are noticed by the customer but never discussed. The customer will simply mark your product down in their minds as not quite up to scratch.

So be a customer yourself on a regular basis and spot things you can correct before the paying client does.


Giving compliments to people is free and can give a little lift to both the recipient and the person giving that compliment. However, if complimenting a customer or a fellow employee it pays to do it right.

Be specific about what you are complimenting on. Being vague such as 'you look good today' does not really register and is not exactly very inventive either. Pinpoint something that you notice and back it up with a 'why' afterwards. For example : That necklace / neck tie looks great on you...( the why) matches your eyes / shirt / suit.

When complimenting a fellow employee, it is good to follow the 3 step rule of 1. WHAT 2. FEELING 3. EFFECT.

The 'what' part is the reason for the compliment - what was done to warrant the compliment.

The 'feeling' part is how did you feel about what was done, did it tickle you, make you proud, or made you glad, thrilled, pleased.

The 'effect' is what effect did it have on the business or department or client. Did it make us stand out better amongst the competition, did it allow for more efficiency or cost effectiveness etc.
Example ; I really liked the way you welcomed that large tour group yesterday on the front desk. I was pleased to see it go so smoothly, and it showed the rest of your team a fine example of how it should be done in the future. Well done.


I have worked in many hotel and restaurant corporations who like to think they are 100% in favour of looking after their customers.
However a familiar scenario which you may recognise is this:

.......The area manager is in town for a quick site visit and is having lunch with the General Manager. All senior staff begin running around nervously, checking back of house areas, cleaners are frantically running from one corner to the next checking for anything which may upset the inspection ahead.
At lunch the food check for the managers table gets V.V.I.P. and rushed forward ahead of paying customers. The food is fussed over and tweaked in the kitchen by the head chef, and of course they get the best table in the restaurant. Senior staff are expected to be there even if it is their day off and tensions are raised.......

Sound similar to something at your place?

Variations of this I've seen in many companies, it may be the company owner, the board of directors, Vice President or whatever, the end result is the same. "The boss is king instead of the customer."

What many people miss out on here is that subconsciously the message is being relayed that the customers are second in rank to the managers / owners. Yet these same managers / owners are being paid, like the employees, from the profits resulting from the customers paying money for a service.

So if you see this kind of scenario happening in your establishment, ask yourself how you can stop it and turn the culture around to reflect a genuine desire to put customers first, not the boss.


So what do you do with your new front line staff? These fresh faced individuals which you have carefully selected through an often costly recruitment process, who have themselves thoughtfully made the decision to come and work in your organization. What is planned for their first few days as your newest employee?

Are they, like most front line staff, buddied up with a more experienced staff member and told to learn the ropes as they go?

The power of a properly planned induction training works it's power in three ways.

1. It reinforces to the new employee that their decision to accept the position was a sound one given that the company takes the initiative in properly introducing the companies culture, vision, expectations and methods of work.

2. The company benefits in that there is immediately a stronger bond forming between employer and employee by having the induction, thereby lessening the chance of the employee becoming disillusioned and leaving.

3. The customer benefits by having a staff member relating to them who is confident and able to perform their duty in an efficient manner, instead of having to make do with a 'newby' fumbling around.
Note: ( The customer pays the same price for your service regardless of which employee cares for them - so why should they be offered up as someone who will assist you to train your new employees on the job?)

What to include in your inductions?

- Introduction to the business/department and its personnel/management structure.

- A thorough understanding of expected standards in the workplace.

- Correct health and safety requirements.

- A refresher course on the particular skills needed in their area, namely showing staff the company way of doing things, as opposed to how things may be done elswhere.


You already know that a good customer survey can highlight weak areas and perhaps show what your existing customers think about you.
The trouble is getting them to answer your questions.

The solution is simple. Get the front line staff to do it for you. Not with clipboards or long lists either, just politely and whilst in conversation with customers.
The questions need to be open ended ones which do not put the customer in an awkward position.
So asking outright if they think service is good, poor or great is not the line you want to pursue.
You need constructive pointers and comparisons with your competitors.
For example; to customer- " You seem to be traveling a great deal in your job, how do we measure up against our main competition? How could we be better in your view?

Give each staff member a couple of questions to have on their desk or discreetly placed in their area of work. Their mission is to try and place that question to as many customers and entice fruitful answers from them which he or she can then bring back to the survey coordinator to compile with the dozens of different questions from other staff . Reward those staff who bring back the most answers and ideas from these customers, those responses are gold dust to you.

Pretty soon you have a wealth of answers given direct from your customers, without alienating them or having to offer rewards like free trips or discounts etc.


Does your workplace have somewhere to feed the staff or an area to allow them to enjoy a few minutes coffee and sit down?.

Is that area merely filled with newspapers declaring gloom around the world, or glossy picture mags with celebrity gossip and dubious claims on the lives of others?

This does nothing to foster an upbeat 'can-do' mentality amongst the crew and merely defeats any goodwill or positive feeling somebody would have had before starting work.

Instead there needs to be an ever changing supply of wisdom and mind expanding education there available for people to learn and develop their mind and themselves. Have some quotes from famous motivators and leaders on the wall, or even staff contributions of anecdotes from the work place. Change the content so that it stays interesting. Have a small library of books and magazines which celebrate success, wealth and personal development.

This is a good area to declare the success of your employee of the month or anecdotes about which staff member went the extra mile for a customer.

It is important for this area to be kept in a similar fashion, standard and decoration to the front of house or customer areas too. It is no good staff walking from a highly polished expensive looking work area then relaxing on a break in a dirty tattered cold room which to them merely states subconsciously that the customer is valued higher and differently to the staff......not good.


Contrary to what many employees think, motivation has to come from the individual....not from the employer.
It is true you may get some brief satisfaction from a pay increase or a promotion, but in truth a long lasting and heartfelt desire to do well in life has to come from within and is not dependent on where you work, or who you work for.

True motivation leads from a willingness to pursue your goals and desires, so it is essential that you begin by setting out your desires for your future and setting a timeline to achieve them.

Find out what your passions are, go within yourself and seek out what your life should be like if you had no restraints on time or finance.

Dream big. Set out what these life goals are and reach upward as if you were already wealthy and could do whatever you wanted.

Write it all down, better still create a picture folder with photos of your new dream lifestyle.

This practice of reading your dream folder every day will build a fire of desire over time and most probably will propel you on to bigger and better things. That may be within your current work scenario, or could quite possibly lead you on to something different altogether.

Just know you are on a journey and it is one to be savoured and enjoyed. The destination is in front of you but it is not the all, just allow yourself to get to where you are going in the right time and know that everything is right with the world for now as it is.


A little development with your every day vocabulary can pay huge dividends in your relationships with both customers and colleagues.

The basic premise is this, speak and treat others how you would love to be treated.

Coming from that perspective will work wonders every time, and goes beyond just saying please and thank you. when it is a habit and comes from the heart, which it will given regular use, the effects will seem magical.

Just starting with the basics : " Could I trouble you to ......"

Moving on to more developed

And listening skills are just as important, be present in a conversation.


As someone who wants to excel and improve in your job, you need to be conscious of how your time is spent.

Given that your goal is to provide an excellent service, you need to lose the feeling of being hurried or always rushing around.
When you are organised and confident in your day anything glides effortlessly into and from your routine, and you have an air of confidence that whatever the world brings to you that day will be alright. " I can cope with anything" kind of attitude.

For example, if you are due to begin your shift at noon, that is not when you show up for work. You need to have been there 20 to 30 minutes prior in order to assess what the day has in store, take any handovers from colleagues in a relaxed unhurried fashion, and make sure you are dressed with all the tools needed for your day.
This is so that even if a customer approaches you on the strike of noon, you are not flustered and fumbling around saying "oh er erm, I've just started, sorry give me a minute here". That customer may not have a minute and it doesn't make you look that professional either.


Top employers are looking for those individuals who have the ability and natural inclination to serve customers well. A powerful and dedicated workforce will 'wow' customers with their caring mindset that says from the heart ' HOW CAN I SERVE?'

The way for an individual to adopt this mindset is to make it a 24 hour lifestyle. You can not turn on such characteristics simply for the duration of your 8 hour shift. Your whole persona needs to be tuned into this concept of service to others all the time.

Example : If on your day off you are sitting eating at a food court and somebody trips and spills their food tray nearby. Do you ignore them because you do not know them? Or do you get up and help and put them at ease?

If that happened at work and they were a customer you would have rushed to help. So why is this scenario different? The point is we have to look at ourselves as all human beings and all deserving of love, kindness and foster an affinity to one another regardless of where we are at the time. That is how you develop an attitude of great service to others.


Be your best when it comes to looking good. Your grooming speaks volumes about your attitude and your level of care.
If you do not care about your personal grooming much, it often follows you do'nt really care about details.

So, if you are in uniform or not, being dressed well transforms your poise and demeanor. It can affect your method of work, for if you are dressed slovenly, your work will be average too, but if you are dressed at your best, your work will be top rate. Look sharp!

Have a full length mirror available at strategic places in the workplace. In the front office, in the staff canteen or cloakrooms.

Does your uniform still fit you? Is your name badge faded? Could my shoes do with a clean? These are all pertinent qustions to ask yourself regularly in the pursuit of excellence.


The service industry succeeds or fails on the delivery of their service and product. That success or failure rate rests on the shoulders of the men and women on the frontline of that service, not on buildings, machinery or fancy decor.

We need to develop and nurture our frontline service providers with top class skills, confidence and knowledge to foster a fantastic mindset within that person so that outstanding service becomes the natural mode of that individual at all times.

This blog intends to showcase these tools and skills available to all service providers to show how anyone can learn how to be a service superstar.