Critical Reflection

The past 13 weeks has been a fulfilling with new skills and knowledge acquired. The Career and Professional Development II module allowed me to gain a deeper understanding on the importance of communication. Whether verbal or non-verbal, interpersonal communication is extremely vital in our daily lives. Engaging and interactive lessons also allowed me to better understand the various concepts such as the Johari window, the Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument as well as the 7Cs in writing.

With these communication skills, a group of three was formed and developed a project synopsis along with a training video that would display an interpersonal communication issue. My team, consisting of Darren and Shufang decided that “creating a positive non-verbal first impression in the front office context” would be a good topic to venture to with the help of our specialisation in hotels and our past job experiences. Through this project, I noticed that the little details count and are usually the most important. This is because an individual would only take seven seconds to form an impression of another and this impression itself is tough to change. In addition, a first impression could make or break any customer relationship, which is why working on this topic was both enriching and enticing. I personally felt that exploring this topic helped reinforced my understanding on communication problems which is extremely vital especially when it comes to working in the hospitality industry where one must deal with people all the time.

I felt satisfied upon completion of the synopsis and training video and was glad that my classmates as well as Brad enjoyed viewing it. On top of that, the sharing and showcase of the different topics ventured, along with each unique videos shown assisted me in the learning process.

Overall, the module has been engaging and the content it covers for instance, impromptu speeches allowed myself to gain more confidence, know how to be a better listener and to always listen to understand and not just to reply.

Final Project Synopsis

CPD PROJECT SYNOPSIS

1.INTRODUCTION

This report will address an interpersonal communication problem with the scope of study focused on the hospitality industry, specifically, hotels. The team has decided to explore the topic of creating a positive nonverbal first impression in the front office context while performing a check-in procedure.

2.WORKPLACE CONTEXT

The tourism industry has been identified as one of the fastest growing sector that contributes a sizeable portion to Singapore’s economy. In 2016 alone, Singapore received more than 16 million visitors (Singapore Tourism Board, 2017). Sentosa, the main attraction hub in Singapore, comprises many five-star hotels such as Hotel Michael, Treetop Loft, Festive Hotel and Hard Rock Hotels. Besides the aesthetics and products being offered in these hotels, service is the key focal point, where true hospitality begins from the heart by creating a positive first impression.

Hence, this project will focus on interpersonal communication problem existing in E Hotel Resort World Sentosa, a five-star hotel situated on the southern tip of Singapore within Sentosa. E Hotel is the latest addition to the Resort World Sentosa collection of hotels and recently opened its doors to public in 2012 (corporate citation from EH/ corporate website, 2017). Besides offering the perfect getaway for both nature lovers and families, it is also located in close proximity to some of Asia’s best attractions such as the Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium.

3.THEMATIC FOCUS

The project focuses on the way a front office agent in a hotel creates a positive and lasting first impression. It emphasizes on the nonverbal aspects of communication such as appearances which is known to influence social interaction which leads to further repercussions (Wolffhechel et al., 2014).

4.PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

In general, individuals are evaluated by those who are forming a first impression. These first impressions have been characterized as difficult to overturn, making those first encounters extremely vital (Mann, 2016). This is of importance, especially in the hotel industry, as first impressions help to set the tone for all the relationships that follows.

The focal issue is on how a front office associate should portray a positive first impression. As E Hotel strives to be the leading hotel in service excellence, the hotel must take the first step in providing adequate training for the employees on how to create a good positive impression.

Portraying positive first impression is of high importance especially in the hotel industry. This is because front office agents are the brand advocates of the hotel and are the first point of contact between the hotel and guests. Hence, when guest visit the hotel, they will develop an impression of the hotel within the first few seconds based on their interaction with the front office agent.

In that slice of time, they will judge the associate in various ways which may affect the way they perceive a hotel and that impression formed is difficult to change. This puts the hotel’s brand reputation at risk and might result in negative comments on the hotel’s social media such as on Facebook, Instagram and Trip Advisor.

Should customers check a property’s social media before deciding on staying with them, the negative comments posted might affect the way they perceive the hotel and even affect their decision to stay. This factor along with customer satisfaction will be affected which will eventually lead to a decrease in revenue. Future customers will hence, form a bias even before visiting the hotel and this will lead to a devastating effect in the long run.

5.OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

The objective of the study is to educate the future front office agents on the importance of creating a positive first impression during the check-in procedure. It aims to educate the agents on the proper code of conduct on how they should carry themselves in workplace setting. This emphasises on nonverbal aspects which includes both grooming standards, body posture.

6.POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

According to Hognas (2015), one of the most important things that guests pay attention to upon check-in, is whether the employee in the reception notices and greets them. More than often, a bad impression is formed if the front desk agent did not pay attention to them. Therefore, it is vital for hotels to come up with training programmes to educate the employees on the importance of first impression.

An individual’s words often suggest a message but his or her body language could send a conflicting signal. Understanding body language is a talent that can help increase one’s successes in life. Individuals will be able to recognize the way the other party feels and think through the examination of their body language. Thus, it is vital for front office agents to learn how to interpret body language of their guests as well as know how to display positive body language. Front office agents should learn how to present themselves properly through body movements, provide guests with full eye contact, good facial expressions and gestures as it allows one to read into a person’s genuine intentions.

It is suggested that training programme could be in place to educate front office agents on the Dos and Don’ts of front office employee in a five star hotel setting. This includes the way the employee present themselves in terms of their grooming standards and body language. The human resource manager would be in charge of educating the front office agents on how to display a positive first impression through the nonverbal communication such as greeting guests, providing a firm handshake, good eye contact and body posture. Besides, grooming standards would be a good topic to educate the employees as well, which includes having a neatly pressed uniform, lipstick, name tag attached on correct side of uniform and hair neatly tied up.

Training programme would be scheduled for new hires to attend during orientation week with the hotel. This will better allow them to understand the standards of the hotel and what is to be expected. From time to time, senior employees would also have to attend the training session to reinforce their knowledge and to ensure that they stay relevant and updated.

7.BENEFITS OF THE WORKPLACE

Results showed that implicit revision emerged after the delay, even among those with poor explicit recall or who were not cued to recall (Mann, 2016). By emphasising the importance of providing a positive first impression for guests, it results in various benefits for the workplace, such as raising the confidence in employees and increases customer satisfaction which ultimately leads to increased overall profits.

The first benefit would be employees feeling good about themselves. Mr Deong mentioned that when employees are certain of their role and job scope, they appear to be more confident and they generally feel better about themselves. As a front office agent, confidence is key in this aspect. This boosts employee morale and makes the hotel a better and more conducive working environment.

Secondly, there would be an increase in customer satisfaction. According to Hognas (2015), when the customer enjoys the service and the result of the service, it in return provides the company with income, which is essential for the existence of the business. Hence, when front office agent creates a positive first impression for guests, they would be impressed with the level of service, and this increases their chances of returning back to the hotel to stay in the future.

Besides that, positive word-of-mouth would also be spread such as through reviews on TripAdvisor website or to their friends. This helps to create awareness for the hotel and with increased bookings, it ultimately increases the revenue stream for the hotel.

8.RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The methodology selected to find out how to create a first positive impression during the check-in process at a five-star hotel includes primary and secondary data collection. For primary data collection, a short interview session was conducted with the reception manager of E Hotel, Mr. David Deong.

This interview was conducted to find out the views on the importance of creating first impression during check-in, as well as some strategies to ensure perfect grooming and body language. Two face to face interviews were also conducted with front office agents of E Hotel to gather more information and gain further insights on the training programme the management provides them with on creating a positive first impression.

For secondary data collection, academic journals and online sources were being tapped on to gather information based on previous research to substantiate our points. In addition, data was also taken from the E hotel’s employee handbook on the certain grooming standards that an employee has to adhere to.

9.CONCLUSION

The hotel industry has been developing and transforming in the past decades. Coupled with the fact that there has been so much more increased competition in this industry, hotels no longer compete in the room aspects and facilities their properties is able to provide, but rather find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect (Lahap et al., 2016). Customer service in the hotel industry is of significance as there is only one chance to create a positive first impression and brand image is especially important in any hotels. Hence, this project is meaningful and serves as an important focus that managers and leaders of hotel industry have to take special note of.

Overall, this project would allow us to further understand the importance of nonverbal communication especially in the context of the hotel setting. The focus on grooming and body language is vital especially for a front office agent because they represent the hotel and is the first point of contact that guests would have when they first arrive in the hotel. In essence, with training in place, it would allow front office agents to pick up the importance of grooming and body language, and to create a positive and lasting first impression for guests.

10.REFERENCES

Hognas. (2015). The importance of the first impression in hotel customer service. Business Economics and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/96496/Sandra_Hognas.pdf?sequence=1

Lahap, J., Ramli, N. S., Said, N. M., Radzi, S. M., & Zain, R. A. (2016). A study of brand image towards customer’s satisfaction in the Malaysian hotel industry. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 224(IRSSM-6 The 6th International Research Symposium in Service Management), 149-157. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.05.430

Mann, T. C., & Ferguson, M. J. (2017). Reversing implicit first impressions through reinterpretation after a two-day delay. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 68122-127. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.06.004

Singapore Tourism Board. (2016). International visitor arrivals statistics, (December), 4–9.

Wolffhechel, K., Fagertun, J., Jacobsen, U. P., Majewski, W., Hemmingsen, A. S., Larsen, C. L., & … Jarmer, H. (2014). Interpretation of appearance: The effect of facial features on first impressions and personality. Plos ONE, (9), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107721

Project Synopsis (Draft #2)

CPD PROJECT SYNOPSIS

1.INTRODUCTION

This report will address an interpersonal communication problem with the scope of study focused on the hospitality industry, specifically, hotels. The team has decided to explore the topic of creating a positive nonverbal first impression in the front office context while performing a check-in procedure.

2.WORKPLACE CONTEXT

Tourism being one of the main pillars of Singapore’s economy has resulted in an influx of new hotels within the past years. Sentosa, the main attraction hub in Singapore, comprises many five-star hotels such as Hotel Michael, Treetop Loft, Festive Hotel and Hard Rock Hotels. Besides the aesthetics and products being offered in these hotels, service is the key focal point, where true hospitality begins from the heart by creating a positive first impression. However, over the years, it has been observed that hospitality from the heart has become a rare sight.

Hence, this project will focus on interpersonal communication problem existing in E Hotel Resort World Sentosa, a five-star hotel situated on the southern tip of Singapore within Sentosa. E Hotel is the latest addition to the Resort World Sentosa collection of hotels and recently opened its doors to public in 2012. Besides offering the perfect getaway for both nature lovers and families, it is also located in close proximity to some of Asia’s best attractions such as the Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium.

3.THEMATIC FOCUS

The project focuses on the way a front office agent in a hotel creates a positive and lasting first impression. It emphasizes on the nonverbal aspects of communication such as appearances which is known to influence social interaction which leads to further repercussions (Wolffhechel et al., 2014).

4.PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

In general, individuals are evaluated by those who are forming a first impression. These first impressions have been characterized as difficult to overturn, making those first encounters extremely vital (Mann, 2016). This is of importance, especially in the hotel industry, as first impressions help to set the tone for all the relationships that follows.

The focal issue is on how a front office associate should portray a positive first impression. As E Hotel strives to be the leading hotel in service excellence, the hotel must take the first step in providing adequate training for the employees on how to create a good positive impression.

Portraying positive first impression is of high importance especially in the hotel industry. This is because front office agents are the brand advocates of the hotel and are the first point of contact between the hotel and guests. Hence, when guest visit the hotel, they will develop an impression of the hotel within the first few seconds based on their interaction with the front office agent.

In that slice of time, they will judge the associate in various ways which may affect the way they perceive a hotel and that impression formed is difficult to change. This puts the hotel’s brand reputation at risk and might result in negative comments on the hotel’s social media such as on Facebook, Instagram and Trip Advisor.

Should customers check a property’s social media before deciding on staying with them, the negative comments posted might affect the way they perceive the hotel and even affect their decision to stay. This factor along with customer satisfaction will be affected which will eventually lead to a decrease in revenue. Future customers will hence, form a bias even before visiting the hotel and this will lead to a devastating effect in the long run.

5.OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

The objective of the study is to educate the future front office agents on the importance of creating a positive first impression during the check-in procedure. It aims to educate the agents on the proper code of conduct on how they should carry themselves in workplace setting. This emphasises on nonverbal aspects which includes both grooming standards, body posture.

6.POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

According to Hognas (2015), one of the most important things that guests pay attention to upon check-in, is whether the employee in the reception notices and greets them. More than often, a bad impression is formed if the front desk agent did not pay attention to them. Therefore, it is vital for hotels to come up with training programmes to educate the employees on the importance of first impression.

It is suggested that a training video on how to create a positive first impression can be created. There are immense advantages of utilising a video to conduct training for employees. Firstly, videos are highly visual and appears to be more engaging. Through watching videos, employees will be able to retain memory from the visuals. Secondly, videos can be produced once and reused over the years to train different batches of employees.

In this training video, we plan to include the Dos and Don’ts of front office employees in a five star hotel setting. This includes the way the employee present themselves in terms of their grooming standards and body language.

It is proposed that the training video is shown to new hires during their orientation week at the hotel. This better allow them to understand the standards of the hotel and what is to be expected. From time to time, the video can also be shown to senior employees to reinforce their knowledge and also to ensure that they stay relevant and updated.

7.BENEFITS OF THE WORKPLACE

Results showed that implicit revision emerged after the delay, even among those with poor explicit recall or who were not cued to recall (Mann, 2016). By emphasising the importance of providing a positive first impression for guests, it results in various benefits for the workplace, such as raising the confidence in employees and increases customer satisfaction which ultimately leads to increased overall profits.

The first benefit would be employees feeling good about themselves. Mr Deong mentioned that when employees are certain of their role and job scope, they appear to be more confident and they generally feel better about themselves. As a front office agent, confidence is key in this aspect. This boosts employee morale and makes the hotel a better and more conducive working environment.

Secondly, there would be an increase in customer satisfaction. According to Hognas (2015), when the customer enjoys the service and the result of the service, it in return provides the company with income, which is essential for the existence of the business. Hence, when front office agent creates a positive first impression for guests, they would be impressed with the level of service, and this increases their chances of returning back to the hotel to stay in the future.

Besides that, positive word-of-mouth would also be spread such as through reviews on TripAdvisor website or to their friends. This helps to create awareness for the hotel and with increased bookings, it ultimately increases the revenue stream for the hotel.

8. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The methodology selected to find out how to create a first positive impression during the check-in process at a five-star hotel includes primary and secondary data collection. For primary data collection, a short interview session was conducted with the reception manager of E Hotel, Mr. David Deong.

This interview was conducted to find out the views on the importance of creating first impression during check-in, as well as some strategies to ensure perfect grooming and body language. Two face to face interviews were also conducted with front office agents of E Hotel to gather more information and gain further insights on the training programme the management provides them with on creating a positive first impression.

For secondary data collection, academic journals and online sources were being tapped on to gather information based on previous research to substantiate our points. In addition, data was also taken from the E hotel’s employee handbook on the certain grooming standards that an employee has to adhere to.

9.CONCLUSION

The hotel industry has been developing and transforming so much in the past decades. Coupled with the fact that there has been so much more increased competition in this industry, hotels no longer compete in the room aspects and facilities their properties is able to provide, but rather find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect (Lahap et al., 2016). Customer service in the hotel industry is of significance as there is only one chance to create a positive first impression and brand image is especially important in any hotels. Hence, this project is meaningful and serves as an important focus that managers and leaders of hotel industry have to take special note of.

Overall, this project would allow us to further understand the importance of nonverbal communication especially in the context of the hotel setting. The focus on grooming and body language is vital especially for a front office agent because they represent the hotel and is the first point of contact that guests would have when they first arrive in the hotel. In essence, with training in place, it would allow front office agents to pick up the importance of grooming and body language, and to create a positive and lasting first impression for guests.

10.REFERENCES

Hognas. (2015). The importance of the first impression in hotel customer service. Business Economics and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/96496/Sandra_Hognas.pdf?sequence=1

Lahap, J., Ramli, N. S., Said, N. M., Radzi, S. M., & Zain, R. A. (2016). A study of brand image towards customer’s satisfaction in the Malaysian hotel industry. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 224(IRSSM-6 The 6th International Research Symposium in Service Management), 149-157. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.05.430

Mann, T. C., & Ferguson, M. J. (2017). Reversing implicit first impressions through reinterpretation after a two-day delay. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 68122-127. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.06.004

Wolffhechel, K., Fagertun, J., Jacobsen, U. P., Majewski, W., Hemmingsen, A. S., Larsen, C. L., & … Jarmer, H. (2014). Interpretation of appearance: The effect of facial features on first impressions and personality. Plos ONE, (9), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107721

Project Synopsis (Draft #1)

1. Specific Workplace Context: E Hotel Resort World Sentosa

As tourism is the main pillar of Singapore’s economy, this resulted in an influx of new hotels within the past few years. With Sentosa being the main attractions hub in Singapore, many five star hotels such as Hotel Michael, Treetop Loft, Festive Hotel, Hard Rock Hotels are built in the area for easy access and convenience to the travellers. Besides the aesthetics and products being offered, service is the key focal point of most five star hotel, where true hospitality begins from the heart with a positive first impression. However, over the years, it has been observed that hospitality from the heart has become a rare sight.

Hence, this project will unravel an interpersonal communication problem existing in E Hotel Resort World Sentosa, a five-star hotel situated in the Southern tip of Singapore, within the dense tropical forest of Sentosa. E Hotel is the latest addition to the Resort World Sentosa collection of hotels and it recently opened its doors to the public in 2012. Besides offering the perfect getaway for both nature lovers and families, it is also within close proximity to some of Asia’s best attractions like Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium. In our video, we will be focusing on the front office check-in procedure in E Hotel.

2. Thematic Focus

The main theme identified in this video is the importance of positive first impression for front office agent in the hotel. The focus is on the non-verbal aspect of communication such as body posture and grooming standards which can bring about various repercussions. The various repercussions will be demonstrated in the video.

The setting of this video will be in a classroom, to emulate a hotel front office setting. It is mainly separated into two segments, the first segment includes the negative examples that a front office agent should avoid and the second with the appropriate demonstrations. The intent of the group is to create a comprehensive video, covering on the mentioned two aspects of nonverbal communication whilst providing a suitable solution to tackle the underlying issue.

3. Interpersonal Communication problem

Through every new encounter, one is constantly evaluated while forming the impression. These first impression formed are usually fixed, making those first encounters extremely important. This is more vital in the hotel industry as first impression help to set the tone for all the relationships as follows.

The focal issue is on front office associate portraying a positive first impression. As E Hotel strives to be the leading hotel in service excellence, the hotel must take the first step in providing adequate training for the staffs.

4. Nature of Project’s professional importance

Providing positive first impression is often mistaken to be a personal issue, which the hotel believe do not have an influence on. In real life scenario, portraying positive first impression is highly important in the hotel industry. As front office agents are the brand advocates of the hotel, they act as the first point of contact between the hotel and guests. Hence, when guest visits the hotel, they will develop an impression of the hotel within the first few seconds of interacting with the agent.

In that slice of time, they will judge the associate in various ways which may affect the way they perceive your hotel and that is really difficult to change. With the brand reputation of the hotel being affected, this will risk spreading on social media such as FaceBook and TripAdvisor. Customer satisfaction will be affected which will result in a decrease in revenue. Future customer will directly form a bias even before visiting the hotel and this will lead to a devastating effect on the long run.

5. Objective and scope of your study

The objective of the study is to help ensure proper grooming standards in the hotel and to emphasise the importance of first impression for front office agent.

The video will first focus on GM of SED Hotel addressing the issue of the importance of creating a positive first impression in the check-in setting, covering the nonverbal aspects focusing on body language and grooming standards.

Following which, the next scene would be the front office agent with bad grooming standards and bad posture and provided the customer with a negative impression. The scope of the grooming standards being covered includes no name tag, coloured hair, no lipstick, untidy uniform. As for the scope of body posture, it covers the lack of eye contact, no smile, leaning forward, fidgeting, chewing gum and using of phone.

This resulted in the customer being upset and expressed her thoughts on SED Hotel. The GM then emphasised the importance of proper grooming standards and the front office agent then recreates a scene that provided the customer with positive first impression. The video is then rounded up with the GM and front office associate emphasising on the importance of creating a positive first impression.

6. Research Methodology

The research method selected to find out how to create a first positive impression during the check-in process at a four-star hotel includes primary and secondary data collection. For secondary data collection, academic journals and online sources were being tapped on to gather information based on previous research. Besides, data was also taken from the employee handbook of the hotel. For primary data collection, a short interview session was conducted with the reception manager of E Hotel, Mr. David Deong, where views on the first impression during check-in was shared, as well as some strategies to ensure perfect grooming and body language.

7. Potential solutions

According to Hognas (2015), one of the most important things that guests pay attention to upon check-in, is whether the employee in the reception notices and greets them. More than often, a bad impression is formed if the front desk agent did not pay attention to them. Hence, it is vital for hotels to come up with the training programme to educate the employees on the importance of first impression.

It is suggested that a training video on how to create a positive first impression can be created. There are immense advantages of utilising a video to conduct training for employees. Firstly, videos are highly visual and appear to be more engaging. Through watching videos, employees will be able to retain memory from the visuals. Secondly, videos can be produced once and reused over the years to train different batches of employees.

In this training video, we plan to include the Dos and Don’ts of front office employees in a five star hotel setting. This includes the way the employee present themselves in terms of their grooming standards and body language.

It is proposed that the training video be shown to new hires during their orientation week with the hotel. This better allow them to understand the standards of the hotel and what is to be expected. From time to time, the video can also be shown to senior employees to reinforce their knowledge and also to ensure that they stay relevant and updated.

8. Benefits to the workplace

By emphasising on the importance of providing a positive first impression for guests, it results in various benefits to the workplace, such as increased confidence in employees, increases in customer satisfaction resulting in increased overall profits.

The first benefit would be employees feeling good about themselves. Mr Deong mentioned that when employees know what they are doing and look more confident, they generally feel better about themselves. As a front office agent, confidence is key in this aspect. This boosts employee morale and makes the hotel a better working environment.

Secondly, there would be an increase in customer satisfaction. According to Hognas (2015), when the customer enjoys the service and the result of the service, it in return provides the company with income, which is essential for the existence of the business. Hence, when front office agent creates a positive first impression for guests, they would be impressed with the level of service, and this increases their chances of returning back to the hotel to stay in the future.

Besides that, positive word-of-mouth would also be spread such as through reviews on TripAdvisor website or to their friends. This helps to create awareness for the hotel and with increased bookings, it ultimately increases the revenue stream for the hotel.

9. Concluding thoughts

The hotel industry has been developing and transforming so much in the past decades. Coupled with the fact that there has been so much more increased competition in this industry, hotels no longer compete in the room aspects and facilities their properties is able to provide, but rather find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect. Customer service in the hotel industry is of significance as there is only one chance to create a positive first impression and brand image is especially important in any hotels. Hence, this project is meaningful and serves as an important focus that managers and leaders of hotel industry has to take special note of.

Overall, this project would allow us to further understand the importance of nonverbal communication especially in the context of the hotel setting. The focus on grooming and body language is vital especially for a front office agent because they represent the hotel and is the first point of contact that guests would have when they first arrives in the hotel. In essence, with trainings in place, it would allow front office agents to pick up the importance of grooming and body language, and to create a positive and lasting first impression for guests.

References

Hognas. (2015). The Importance of the First Impression in Hotel Customer Service. Business Economics and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/96496/Sandra_Hognas.pdf?sequence=1

Making a Great First Impression: Getting off to a Good Start. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2017, Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/FirstImpressions.htm

Letter of service recovery

Dear Mr Bennert,

Thank you for taking your time to provide us with your valuable feedback regarding your recent stay in Good Life Hotel. I am terribly sorry to know about your experience and sincerely apologise that we did not meet your expectations which you have the right to expect.

I am disappointed to know that about the level of service you received at the front desk as well as the problems you faced with the facilities. It is certainly not the exceptional experience we aspire for our guests to enjoy, and I sincerely apologise.

Please know that we have addressed all the points which you highlighted, and remedial actions are being taken. Thank you again for giving us an opportunity to review our processes to understand the missed opportunities and prevent recurrences in the future.

I sincerely hope that you will give us another chance to regain your confidence the next time you are in town. Please be kind enough to contact me directly and I will personally ensure a seamless experience for you and your family.

We look forward to receiving your reply, for an opportunity to restore your faith in our hotel and service team.

Warm regards,
Eline Lee
Guest Service Agent – Front Office

(195 words)

Reflection

I encountered an interpersonal communication problem during one of my recent shifts at Fluff Bakery – a local takeaway-only halal bakery located along the premises of Jalan Pisang. Not only is this bakery a winner among the Muslim crowd, it has also won the hearts of many patrons far and wide with the unique local fusion cupcake flavours available. Fluff bakery opens at 12 noon and often forms a snaking queue during different times of the day.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-2-14-20-pm
(image from Fluff Bakery official Instagram page)

The image above shows the counter where the cupcakes are placed and customers would often order the cupcakes and then pay at the counter after their items are being packed.

This incident happened after lunch – one of the most crowded timing for the bakery as people often look for something sweet to end their meal. A Muslim lady then came by the counter and spoke to me in Melayu, saying “sayang, enam” as well as gesturing a number six. Having worked at the bakery for quite some time, a customer gesturing a number six often meant a box of six. This customer then started mumbling to herself in Melayu while pointing out the different cupcakes she would like to pack in the box. After packing, I asked the customer if there’s anything else she would like, she then shook her head, gave me a smile of assurance and said “terima kasih”. As usual, I placed the cupcakes into the box of six and passed it on to the cashier counter and proceed to serving other customers.

At the counter, the customer made a big fuss and told my colleagues that I got the order all wrong. She told them that she wanted six cupcakes to be packed individually and even mentioned that I got the cupcakes flavours all messed up. What’s worse is that she did not allow me to amend her order, but instead wanted another colleague of mine to repack and arrange the cupcakes. The situation got from bad to worse when the cupcake flavor she wanted was sold out. The customer was furious and told the cashier she did not want any of the cupcakes anymore and walked out of the store.

I felt sorry about that incident especially when my colleague had to deal with the customer lashing out at her and had to do double job, packing and unpacking. Perhaps the situation would not have happened if I told the customer that I do not speak nor understand Melayu. I felt extremely guilty towards the customer, my colleagues and the bakery as they might have lost one of their loyal customers. This incident was an eye opener and taught me the importance of communication, whether verbal or non-verbal as any slight misunderstanding could result in a huge problem.

How should I have dealt with the customer? Should I have spoken up? What could I have done differently to avoid such situation?

Personal Branding

How do some of the key areas discussed connect to your personal branding?

Personal branding is described as the continuous process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others. It refers to the practice of people marketing themselves and how others perceive them. On top if that, it also affects one’s career success and has the potential to launch a person to greater heights. Hence, having an established personal branding is vital as it provides a clear focus for self-development while allowing one to establish themselves as a thought leader.

One of the key areas that connects to personal branding is self-awareness. Self-awareness refers to being conscious and having knowledge to one’s own character and feelings. Being aware of our own strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, motivation and emotions is vital to build our own personal branding. It allows us to understand the way we behave, react as well as market ourselves towards our peers and potential employers. For instance, I believe that my previous overseas internship experiences and ability to adapt quickly to a new environment is one of my strengths, hence, would use these points to build better impression and provide a better understanding to my future employer during interviews. In addition, I believe that having clear understanding of one’s thoughts and behavior patterns would also enable an individual to understand others and to empathize better personal and professional relationships.

Self-esteem reflects the confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. Having a higher self-esteem may mean that an individual is confident with regards to their abilities. I personally feel that my self-esteem level is moderate as it tends to depend on the situation I’m in. When I am confident towards a topic or subject, I tend to have a higher self-esteem and engage more in the conversation or when answering questions in the context of a classroom. On the other hand, when I tend to be unsure of a topic, I do not voice out or try to comment. Thus, this is an area where I should work on especially when working in the hospitality industry where I must be clear and confident in what I do.

In summary, I believe that personal branding can be built via having a better understanding of oneself, through communications as well as being more engaged. Once an individual can achieve that, he or she can then share their recognizable personal brand with the world.