“Different hotel chains can buy supplies from the same suppliers. The differentiation is in the service. In order to achieve high customer service standards you need to be precise and persistent. This is a big challenge. We have dozens of hotels of different categories in a variety of locations. On each hotel our aim is to give our customers the best service and the best experience we can give. We have high employee turnover. Our business is seasonal and the work is hard”. It was an explanation we got from the hotel chain VP HR.
The challenge we were facing: Provide an effective solution from a time investment perspective that will have a lasting impact. A simple unified solution that can be customized for a variety of hotel functions and without using infrastructure that is not accessible by every hotel staff member.
We teamed with the chain training manager. We mapped the different hotel departments – food, security, room service, maintenance etc.
We opened our platform to the teams of 5 hotels that were selected from a variety of hotel categories. In 3 weeks more than 150 services cases were collected. Each case is based on the hotel staff real life experience. Customer service, cross department interfaces, team relationship, and extreme cases – the cases captured could probably serve as a basis for a new novel. We stayed focused on our mission – improving the service level of the hotel personnel.
We selected a subset of the service cases that were collected that represent the different areas marked by the chain management as focus areas. Each case was categorized based on the hotel department it is relevant to. We turned the cases in role play and embedded the role play into the game. The game selected by the chain was Space Quest.
Each pair of role play cards had a “consulting” cards attached to it. This enabled the players to get a hint or advice when needed.
We prepared a booklet containing all the service cases. To each case we added recommendations and a proposed action plan.
We prepared Service Guidelines Flip Cards. These are sets of cards that contain the service guidelines of the chain. Each flip contains a guideline, explanation and examples.
The role play cards were prepared in 4 languages: English, Russian, Arabic and Hebrew.
The game was launched during the chain management forum taking place every couple of months. This was a first opportunity for managers from a variety of hotel categories and departments to experience service cases from their colleagues learn new ideas and receive constructive feedback. In the game the players had to choose a leader that will defend planet Earth from an alien invasion. In order to become the leader each player had to manage service cases and get feedback on the way the case was handled. The players used the Service Guidelines Flip Cards in order to analyze each case and develop an action plan.
After the managers forum each management team received a game kit to use locally at their hotel. Each kit contains a game, service cases for each department and Service Guidelines Flip Cards.
The games turned into a useful tool on each of the hotels. Every month each hotel department is playing the game. The department manager is picking the relevant service cases he would like to focus on. Once in awhile some cases from other departments are also used in order to improve cooperation between the departments. The interface between the hotel departments has significant effect on the customer experience when interacting with the hotel personnel.
Now, with the games implemented on each hotel, the service level improvement is noticeable and customer satisfaction is high.