Hospitality communication in the workplace is always an important issue which is constantly addressed by employers and staff alike. Excellent communication is a vital issue, because customers are paying not only for the product – the food, the room or the facilities – they are also paying for the service. And service is just as much about communication as it is about skill.
Hospitality communication covers two important areas: customer service, and ‘behind the scenes’ staff and management interaction. Good communication in both areas is essential for the high standards of operation everyone expects in the industry.
The Importance of Hospitality Communication in the Customer Service Level:
A client may have a bad day, or be in a bad mood, but a genuine smile from the receptionist and a warm welcome from all the staff might just change their outlook for the rest of that day and the days to come. The same applies for the waitperson at the restaurant, the housekeeping or maintenance staff, or any other employee that comes in contact with the guests. A caring, positive atmosphere makes the difference between just a place you pass through and a place your guests will remember.
Employees in the hospitality industry must remember that “service with a smile” is not just a custom logo – it’s what clients expect. It requires a positive attitude 100% of the time, even if you are having a bad day or you are tired – the customer is paying for your smile, not your frown. It requires patience when dealing with customers from overseas who have a hard time making themselves understood in English. It requires ‘putting up’ with grumpy people or ones who’s manners are not always impeccable – because, up to a certain point, ‘the customer is always right’. These are situations that staff learn to deal with and they take pride in the professional manner in which they handle ‘difficult customers’.
Other important aspect of hospitality communication with customers is providing clear and useful information when asked by customers. Restaurant staff should know the menu inside out, understand special dietary requirements, know about the source of the ingredients they are serving, etc. Reception staff at the hotel should be up-to-date not only with the facilities and services that the hotel offers, but also with all the other information travellers need: activities, transport, eating and entertainment, and opening hours of shops and agencies. It is part of the service, and guests appreciate well-informed and courteous staff – it can make a difference between “just another day” and a memorable day.
The Importance of Hospitality Communication between Staff and Management:
Employers should take the time to explain and train their employees to always maintain a warm, welcoming and professional environment in the workplace, not only where customers are concerned, but also among the staff themselves. An employer can do a lot to promote a positive atmosphere for the staff; a nice staff room with facilities for workers to relax during their breaks will let them know they are valued, that the boss cares about them. This small investment will pay off by having loyal staff who are willing to give a little extra because they feel it is appreciated. Good communication between management and staff will be passed down the line in the form of good communication between staff and guests. Making sure that staff has all the ‘tools of their trade’ to do their job to the highest standards is a two-way thing – employees have to communicate clearly and on time what they need, and management should listen and make sure they are well informed of all their staff’s requirements and needs.
Smiling, happy staff is one of management’s most important assets in the hospitality industry. Therefore, people who are looking at a career in this sector should know that the skills required include ‘people skills’ – understanding, patience, the ability to perform well as a team, and, above all, a positive disposition. Bad tempered people have no place in the hospitality industry – it’s a place where people come to relax and enjoy themselves. A happy and relaxed atmosphere is what anyone entering the facility should immediately feel, and if staff and management can communicate this at all times, they can be assured that their guests will be coming back for more.