How do you ensure that your company, hospital, store or bank is a place that makes you happy? Where the customer or patient truly is the point of focus. Where people feel welcome and where employees work with perception and inspiration. Hospitality Consultant Jeroen Frerichs explains.
Jeroen: "If the world would be a little more hospitable, we could all enjoy life more." Based on this vision, he supports companies and organizations in developing people-oriented hospitality, customer-friendliness and patient-friendliness. He does so together with the other Hospitality Consultants from Hotel Management School Maastricht. “We help companies to distinguish themselves in terms of service and hospitality. Increased customer satisfaction is not the only result. You will also have satisfied employees and better business results. ”
A hospitable organization. What is it and how do you achieve it? Jeroen: “You are hospitable if you put the customer first, if you see him as a person and look at his individual needs. If you wonder "how can I help you"? This could mean in a hospital that you host someone well, but also that you take the time to put him at ease. Or - if you work in public transport - ask the traveller where the journey is going.
Being hospitable is actually a mental attitude. That does not mean that you have to allow everything. Hospitality is also about setting clear limits. Rules apply in every organization, you can be clear about that. But that too can be done in a friendly way.
An example: for the island of Aruba we are working on ‘sustainable’ tourism through a higher excellent service level. The island's security personnel are also involved. There is a proposal to teach them how they can sense when to be friendly and helpful and when to act. Imagine a tourist causing an accident with a rental car. You could act very authorative and strict. However, since the situation for the tourist is already very stressful, you will probably achieve more with a friendly approach.”
Hospitality is also about taking an extra step. There were it seems impossible. Even now Jeroen has examples ready: “In the hospital where we have been managing a hospitality project for a while, parents are allowed to sleep in the room with their sick children. There is a rule that parents must be dressed by 8.30 so that the nursing staff can work undisturbed. Recently a child had a bad night. The parents had hardly slept. Then the nurse arranged that they had two more hours of rest in the room. It was a small effort, but unaffordable for the parents and the child.
Another example: I myself recently had to attend a training course in a village in the sparsely populated north of The Netherlands. After a long drive, I arrived at the hotel, but the restaurant and bar were already closed. The receptionist then made me a cup of soup and a sandwich in the kitchen. That is exactly what hospitality is all about. "
Of course it is not easy to take the hospitality in an organization to the next level. "Certainly in a large organization, it is a long-term matter, because you have to win over everyone in the organization," says Jeroen. “It helps if the management stands behind it and offers room to implement changes.
Another example: “If you have to have medical examinations at the hospital, you often spend half a day or even a full day. How patient-friendly would it be if all these check-ups could be completed within 1.5 hours and the nurse also takes a moment to chat with you? It requires a different way of thinking, working and organizing, but it is possible.”
For this, however, it is necessary to regard hospitality as a core value in your organization, which you must continue to develop. The Hospitality Consultants at Hotel Management School Maastricht would be more than happy to help you with it.
Jeroen: “Not only do we offer (interim) consultancy, we also develop tailor-made master classes and hospitality courses. Sometimes we allow students from the Hotel Management School to walk around in an organization for a few days. Thanks to their open and fresh perspective they often see what could be improved. For individual employees who want to become a ‘hospitality ambassador’, the Hospitality Innovator course is very worthwhile. We use all kinds of resources to inspire as many people as possible in an organization to be even more hospitable. ”
Would you like to know what we could do for your organization? How we, together with you, could ensure a 9+ experience for your customers, clients or patients? Then please contact us. We will gladly think along with you.