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  • Writer's pictureWimintra Raj

Nice Staff vs Well-Trained Staff

'We hire service minded people' - We all start from there, don't we?

When hiring staff, every GM or HR recruiter that I have talked to would say that the most important thing to look for in staff is 'attitude', and I totally agree.

I don't know if I'm the nicest person you would meet - I do have my moments and people keep telling me that I could never work in the service industry. But, two years ago when I took a butler training program by the British Butler Institute, I thought to myself that 'Nice' is total trainable.

Hotel operators usually tell me that they are blessed to recruit Asian staff because Asians are generally naturally nice.

To me, just because someone smiles at you all the time doesn't mean they are nice. Sometimes, it is a sign of submission, anxiety, or not knowing how to be professional in a given situation.

Imagine yourself as a very angry guest dealing with a staff member that lacks the ability of being able to read your mood and do what is necessary to fix the situation and calm you down. Rather, all he or she does is just smile at you.

Nice isn't what is missing in the industry. Well-trained staff is what's missing.

Well-trained is when guests have ridiculous requests and you know how to say 'No' without saying 'No'

Well-trained is when you want to strangle someone but you refrain from doing so.

Well-trained is when I'm about to make you cry, but you hold those tears back and continue to fix the situation for me.

Well-trained is when you offer ginger tea to a guest because you spot her getting sick.

Well-trained is when you anticipate guests' needs and deliver the goods.

Well-trained is when you go above and beyond what is expected of you.

When you asked to replace your salad with French-fries, but your dish arrives and the salad is there on the plate staring at you, don't be that staff member that tries to be smart saying something like "Oh, sorry … the kitchen made a mistake - (whether the kitchen actually did or didn't) - But hey, Kale tastes good and is good for you, so go ahead and eat it"

That is when well-trained needs to kick in. I don't need staff telling me how to eat healthily. I need my fries that I asked for. 'Nice' and 'well-intentioned' in this case is going to backfire. The best thing to do in this situation is say 'Oops, sorry about that' - then go back and get my fries.

Don't just smile - Act.

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