It's Nice to Be Here

It’s not often that I am completely satisfied with a hotel’s service. Having worked in the travel industry before my time with the Institute I developed a sense for what was exceptional quality and what was below par and everything in between. I was fortunate enough to stay in one of the top hotels in Atlanta, Georgia last week while conducting the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program. We had over thirty participants who were attending for a variety of reasons. Some were there for the one-day seminar while others attended for the full four-day certification course. Still others were attending to recertify, refresh, or meet their renewal process requirement. I enjoyed working with them all. But what was almost as enjoyable was interacting with the staff at the hotel. It occurred to me that the qualities that the hotel staff possessed are the same qualities that we in human service should have as well.

A wide variety of hotel staff came up to greet me throughout the week. Everyone from banquet staff, who were handling our day-to-day beverage requirements to the general manager of the hotel. Each and every one of them shook my hand firmly, looked me straight in the eye and told me how happy they were that I was there. Can you imagine being a consumer in a human service environment and getting that same kind of treatment from every single employee there? Granted, in many human service settings the service users do not want to be there or are more or less required to be there due to health related reasons or perhaps even a court order. But wouldn’t the experience be enhanced in a positive way if the people who were taking care of you communicated their appreciation in a, if not direct way, subtle gesture of some kind? While going to a hospital for important tests I would not want a nurse telling me she was glad I was there. I would, however, appreciate a greeting along with a statement telling me how well they were going to take care of me regardless of my reason for being there. That simple communication could actually prevent crisis behavior.

The attention to detail at this hotel was phenomenal. Billing statements were accurate and delivered in a timely manner. Staff used my name when greeting me or if they didn’t know my name would greet me with “Sir”. Sleeping and meeting rooms were meticulously cleaned and everything was aesthetically pleasing. On the third day, when staff was used to my daily habits, things were done for me in advance without my having to ask. What a pleasant surprise! Can we as human service professionals duplicate this same attention to detail and quality control? Making sure those in our care understand what, if any, services will be charged and who will be responsible for paying them. Calling our consumers by name and if the name is not known then always communicating with them in the most respectful manner. Striving to create an environment that is clean and clutter-free and using colors and furniture that are pleasing to the eye and conducive to a stress-free environment. Trying to anticipate what our service users’ needs are without being judgmental, but with their  Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM in mind even if it is something as simple as a glass of water.

Finally, I wanted to mention the incredible attitudes and demeanor that the staff at this particular hotel possessed. This was ubiquitous throughout the hotel even when things weren’t going to plan. This had a strong effect on me. Strong enough for me to want to write about it! I was then able to transfer that same positive energy to my participants. Think of the impact your attitude will have on all those that you touch day in and day out. What type of energy will you pass along? You have incredible power whether you know it or not. Tap into that power and make sure it has a positive impact on those around you.

I suspect that the Institute will be going back to this particular hotel year after year as we have been doing for so many. It was a pleasure working with their staff and a privilege to serve our customers as well.

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