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[Excerpt] Your service environment is superb, your operations are efficient, your concept reflects a clear idea of the customers' demands, and your back-of-the-house delivery system is flawless—so far, so good. Now it's up to that front-line employee you've worked so hard to hire and train to deliver the service you've promised, because the guest contact employee usually is the key to having a satisfied guest. Say that there's a problem at the front desk, and a guest's room is out of order or not acceptable. This is the moment of truth. If the front-desk associate is rushed or dealing with a heavy check-in, he or she may not be able to respond to the guest's problem or may be too casual about the problem. Suddenly, all your careful planning is for naught. If the guest feels shabbily treated, the guest will also be angry at your hotel, since the employee represents the hotel. It makes no difference whether the guest's reaction is fair or appropriate. Since quality and value are defined by the guest, the employee who provides the guest experience must be not only well trained but highly motivated to meet the guest's quality and value expectations and to do so consistently. Your role as a manager responsible for providing an exceptional service experience, and specifically for preparing your staff to deliver such service, is vital. In this chapter, we argue that motivating your employees is as critical for excellent service as is training them.


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© Wiley. Final version published as: Sturman, M. C., & Ford, R. (2011). Motivating your staff to provide outstanding service. In M. C. Sturman, J. B. Corgel, & R. Verma (Eds.), The Cornell School of Hotel Administration on hospitality: Cutting edge thinking and practice (pp. 142-158). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.