Magazine article Personnel Journal

Employees' Customer-Service Pride Helps Raise Guest-Satisfaction Ratings

Magazine article Personnel Journal

Employees' Customer-Service Pride Helps Raise Guest-Satisfaction Ratings

Article excerpt

Jerry Steinman is a mechanic in the engineering department at Red Lion Hotels & Inns' property in Orange County, California. Steinman recently fished a guest's priceless earrings out of the hotel's pool.

Steinman didn't ask his boss's permission before diving into the pool to fetch the distraught guest's earrings. He didn't worry about working overtime. He didn't even give his actions a second thought. To quote a phrase: He just did it.

Vancouver, Washington-based Red Lion Hotels & Inns has made it its business to be helpful to travelers who stay at its 52 properties in 10 Western states. How? By making sure that it hires the right people and by making sure that its customer-service training is in tip-top shape.

Red Lion encourages its 12,500 employees, called pvide members (a phrase that plays off the company's name), to live up to the organization's value statement (the customer always comes first) every day.

Good customer service begins with the hiring stage, according to Rick Howell, Red Lion's corporate training manager. "We screen and hire people who are customer-service-oriented," Howell says. How? The organization uses what it calls the Pride Member Perceiver, which Selection Research Inc. (the Gallup Poll people) designed specifically for Red Lion five years ago.

The Perceiver, as Howell calls it, is a 45-question test that determines applicants' skills and preferences in such areas as guest satisfaction, hospitality, values and gestalt. Gestalt measures the applicants' tendencies toward such characteristics as orderliness. …

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