I was raised to care deeply about the lessons my parents instilled in me in regards to manners. They were completely inflexible about me saying "please" and "thank you." It was expected that I would address adults with terms such as "Yes, sir," "Yes, ma'am," and "Mr." and "Mrs." My mother also taught me how to write a proper thank you note, and to this day, I will still write three paragraphs, just like she taught me. So why do I mention all of this? Where have manners gone? In the hospitality industry, one would hope manners matter and would get the focus it deserves with people serving people. Yet, still, we are often surprised with the poor manners displayed around us in the service industry.
"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use." Emily Post
We have become complacent with our conversations. There are many overused and over accepted phrases that need to be eliminated from many industries, but especially hospitality. Euan McGlashan says it well, "We take them (phrases) for granted in our everyday conversation, but they are rooted in negative attitudes—attitudes that if left uncorrected can distract us from our goal as hoteliers of creating loyal and happy guests."
Challenge your yourself and your team to "catch" the phrases that are not serving you or your customers in the most professional manner. Many service providers, if not properly trained, will think phrases like: "For sure," "My bad," "To be honest," and my personal favorite, "No problem" are acceptable. If your organization is using any of these phrases with your guests, you are knocking at the door of creating an unpleasant guest experience. Put focus on eliminating the use of these with your team. When you hear one, when timing is appropriate, tell your employee a better way to phrase what they said. Evaluating employees' performances is what we do. We not only find what needs improvement, but our evaluations are turn key; we tell them the "how-to" for improving. These subtle 2 or 3 word phases are dangerous to your image. Be inflexible when it comes to using proper manners, like my parents...