COVID-19 Is Not an Excuse for Providing Poor Service

Eight ways to think about your hospitality formula

I have heard it all before – she made me do it – he tricked me. Because of “our policy” we need to do it this way … but the most insidious excuse that I’ve heard lately is “because of COVID-19 …”

Why are you hiding behind excuses? Yes … COVID-19 requires you to keep guests safe through social distancing and extra cleanliness procedures, however there is not a CDC requirement to use COVID-19 as an excuse to provide poor service.

I get it … COVID-19 created a whole new set of issues for our business, and in order to be open, certain safety requirements were implemented.

You had to add sanitation stations, plexiglass partitions between guests and at cashier stands and touchless systems and QR code menus wherever possible. But have you asked what the impact is on guest service by adding all of these additional safety features? Guests may be numb to the requirements, but they are starting to wake up and expect more from you than just “COVID-19 policy” on how they are to behave.

First ask yourself, how do you feel when you experience a restaurant, hotel, casino or other hospitality venue impose restrictions on how you can move or behave in their facility? If you feel uncomfortable – your guests most certainly do as well.

Here are eight things to consider right now at your casino resorts:

  1. Don’t bewilder your guests with confusing or incoherent messaging.

Be very clear that you expect guests to wear masks – NOT because it is required by the CDC – but because it is required by you. Don’t hide behind the CDC but follow the guidelines if they are what your organization is following. If you aren’t – clearly say so.

  1. Tacky paper signs that are tattered and worn that tell your guests that seats aren’t being used due to COVID-19 is poor.

A better way to indicate that seats are not available is by featuring food and beverage specials on those tables as a form of marketing, or by placing mascots or other fun characters in the seats as “patrons” to occupy the space to show that you are not filling them with humans for distancing. Be creative. Just removing the tables makes the space feel sparse and unwelcoming.

  1. QR codes for menus are fine

As long as you have tested the app to make sure that it features your offerings in a positive light. It is unacceptable if you click on the QR code and it takes you to a substandard or non-operating page for menu offerings. There are some guests who just won’t or can’t use the QR code, and you will then need to provide a paper copy of your menu as an alternative.

  1. Speaking of expectations, in all tech applications, please make sure that you experience the process yourself.

If it does not work for you or feels clunky – it will be the same or magnified for your guests.

  1. When using apps for reservations and check-in at a hotel

The expectation should be that it is fully functioning and not requiring manual check-in beyond the app process. Completing the process prior to arrival should be all that is required. If you register and complete all of the technical requirements of check-in prior to arriving at the hotel – why would you need to then wait in line at the hotel to finish the process? It just frustrates the guest and makes the validity of the pre-arrival technology void.

  1. Masks may still be required for your team members for a while longer as we reopen businesses as confidence levels are still growing.

If your team members must wear masks – make sure that they wear them fully and not with reticence. It doesn’t give the guest any confidence that you are taking masks seriously if your team doesn’t completely comply. It is important that you support and give your team air breaks periodically to keep them comfortable. Also, remind them that “we can’t hear you” with your mask on. It is important to speak clearly and slowly, and ask your guests to confirm that they do hear you and understand your communications.

  1. Smiles CAN be heard and seen in your eyes.

Please make sure that your mask policy doesn’t forgo the expectation to smile.

  1. Hospitality is more than selling a commodity.

Service is our primary product. Now more than ever, we need to be patient, compassionate and exceedingly service-oriented as our guests have had to give up many freedoms throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking to you to escape and experience pampering that has been lost since before 2019.

I know that normalcy is measured by what you are accustomed to doing regularly. We don’t want this “new normal” to be wrought with poor messaging and substandard service. Expect more of your organization and it will be the reason that guests choose you over your competition every time, regardless of what health policy is in effect.

Brett Magnan 15 Articles