They shared with us the following 5 recommendations:
1. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
You get a client coming in after a long flight. They're tired. They need some rest, and certainly don't want to hear that their room isn't ready.
One must be a bit of a psychologist...putting oneself immediately in the client’s shoes." Our job is about finding the right words for each and every customer, and satisfying needs before any inconveniences are ever expressed— Egidio Marcato
2. Humans first, raise your head from that screen (and smile)
Your workload is heavier than usual and there is some reporting you need to submit on a tight deadline. But there's someone at your desk needing your assistance.
The human touch is everything. I find it so disappointing when people are welcomed by a receptionist who has their eyes fixed on the screen at their desk (and not on the client). Smile. Ask them how they're doing. Make them feel at home.— Egidio Marcato
3. The client is king (or at least they have to think they are)
You're exhausted. Maybe you're going through a personal crisis. Or it's just been a horrible.
We've all been there. But a huge part of being in the service industry, is being that hero that someone needs.
Make your client feel like a king. Offer them an ear and making their needs your priority, like the way you'd like to be treated.
4. Good communication and team spirit are key
Judith Schroeder, a Glion graduate, has no doubt about what it takes to provide a great reception. And she emphasizes that having a good team, with good communication, is what makes the difference.
All customers need to feel special: when a client comes in, if it’s not their first visit, the team will have gathered all the relevant information on them so that the individual receptionist will be able to call him by their name and – for example – spare them the long and boring financial checks. They won’t need to give their card upfront. All of their details will be already stored since the first visit.
5. Situations might be challenging but 'No' is never the answer
Receptionists have seen it all. Good ones learn how to turn unfavorable twists and turns into opportunities to offer an extraordinary service to their customers.
Faithful to its mission, Glion school in Switzerland prepares hospitality-driven professionals. The university is very proud of their Alumni participating to the Bucherer Trophy (Swiss contest for the best receptionist of the year).
The international competition is called David Campbell Trophy, it bears the name of the late (and mythical) Head of Reception at the Ritz in Paris and is open to winners of the national best receptionist awards.
The most brilliant receptionists participating in the competition have to succeed in multiple exams.
The most entertaining one is probably the roleplay.
“I write most of the scenarios and act in some of them,” confesses Mr. Marcato, “but they are always inspired by real life situations I have witnessed.”
We asked him which of them was most memorable.
“Oh, it was in Davos, I will never forget it. It reminded me of a Vaudeville sort of play. I was a Mr. Smith and I had booked two connected rooms under my name. The receptionist assumed the second room was for my boyfriend but in the end it turns out it was for my dog. At the same time, a Mrs. Smith calls in, asking if her room is ready. So it’s the three of us: me, the Mrs. Smith, and the dog."
In a situation like this one, "no" is never the answer to any question.
One has to "buy some time" and find a way to please the visitor.
There is always a way.— Egidio Marcato
Guest management is for companies what bread is for restaurants: a detail that makes all the difference between an average establishment and a star one.
Corporations can learn a lot from the hotel business and hospitality spirit: how well they put those teachings into practice will be key to their company’s future success.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.