Traditional British service standards have long been viewed as a framework for excellence in service, and should always be looked to for inspiration – whatever star or ranking you hold.
I believe that striving to deliver the ‘best of British’ can instil pride, professionalism and care in every organisation. Below are five key tips to assist you engendering a culture of high standards:
- Lead from the top: articulate your values and demand that these are lived and breathed by all employees. Professionalism and pride must be instigated from the top, however if your business ethics and approach aren’t clearly expressed then staff members cannot be expected to meet these on a consistent basis. Define and state your business philosophies and expect your staff to stick by them.
- The devil (or angel) is in the detail: some people have it instinctively, others must be trained, but detail is the key to achieving excellence and pushing service beyond the standard. Set aside time to work with your team and ensure they all know which details are pivotal and that attention must be paid to every aspect of their role. Think about the experience your customers receive at competitor locations and set the bar higher.
- Incentivise and encourage: whatever the size of your team, making them feel appreciated will encourage members to gel, work harder and more efficiently. Perks can go a long way in providing staff with a sense of pride in a job well done, and a clear indication of when they are hitting your high targets. However ensuring you don’t have favourites is also important, as jealousy or neglect can prevent a team from delivering the consistency required for excellence.
- Structure: good structure will aid both managers and staff in ensuring that nothing is forgotten, missed or overlooked. A robust team structure, with clear hierarchy and order, will go a long way in making sure the chain of command becomes an asset in enforcing standard upkeep.
- Embrace critique! As Churchill, arguably the embodiment of “Britishness” once said: “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary”. A good owner or manager will welcome the opportunity to hear feedback from peers or customers, review social media on a regular basis and take positive action on (fair) criticism. Don’t become complacent, and take any criticism or constructive feedback as a means of encouraging your team to reach higher.
Michael Shaw is an ex-Royal household member and founder and director of Franklin, a household and domestic staff consultancy for some of the UK’s most high-end establishments.