How Cookie Shopping Was a Place of Sweetness and Service Excellence

Khalid Shiekh

Posted on November 27th, 2023

Satisfied and inspired employees in the hospitality services industry who are well compensated, properly trained, treated with respect, and recognized and rewarded for their outstanding work are the heart of a successful organization. They will do everything possible to provide an exceptional service to their customers or the people they serve, on a consistent basis. They love what they do and are proud of it. It’s called the service excellence culture!

I would like to share a story of a service excellence experience that has stayed with me for many years. In 2006, I was the senior general manager for support services at a major medical center in Oklahoma. For the hospital week, I was assigned to procure two hundred dozen cookies. I called a well-established cookie company store at a local mall to speak with the manager to get some ideas and a quote. A very enthusiastic and vibrant voice answered the phone with an appropriate and cheerful greeting. That was my first positive impression. I asked to speak with the manager. She very politely replied, “The manager is not in right now, but I will gladly assist you. How may I help you?” I could hear a smile, feel her enthusiasm, and visualize her engaging style in her voice. I sensed that she was committed to helping a potential customer over the phone. I described the reason for my call, and she responded, “We would be honored to prepare such a large quantity of cookies for the hospital staff. We are very experienced in serving such large events, so please give us the opportunity”.

Of course, that statement sealed the deal for me. She set up a time for me to come to meet with her and the manager the next day. I was thoroughly impressed by her salesmanship, happy voice, enthusiasm, and engaging style over the phone. The next day, when I met with the manager and her, we quickly finalized the arrangement for the cookie order and all the related details. Before I left the store, I asked her what makes her so happy, cheerful, energetic, engaging, and customer-focused. She replied in three simple words, “It’s our culture!”. She continued; “We are very well trained, and our manager treats us with respect, dignity, fairness, and appreciation every day, and we treat every customer the same way”.

She is an example of a happy and engaged employee!

Great leaders in the hospitality industry purposefully and diligently work to create a culture of Workplace Excellence where the employees excel at what they do. This is their passion and mission, and they are fully committed to it. By doing so they also help create more ‘leaders’ on their team and for the organization.

There are seven most common leadership traits they inherently practice towards achieving this mutually beneficial culture of excellence! These leaders:

  1. Begin with a Leader’s Mindset
  2. Put People First and Serve Their Needs
  3. Share their Vision, Strategy, Plan and Purpose
  4. Focus on Employee Satisfaction and Their Development
  5. Create a culture of Fairness, Integrity, and Personal Growth
  6. Build Great Teams and Make the Organization Better
  7. Communicate Effectively

To summarize:

Building a culture of Workplace Excellence in the hospitality services industry takes a visionary, thoughtful, committed, and passionate leader with many inspirational and impeccable qualities. They communicate effectively and practice kindness, humility, inclusiveness, empathetic listening, and promote teamwork. Everyone on their team supports and respects each other. These leaders celebrate the team’s individual and organizational successes. They recognize and reward the hard work and accomplishments of their people. They inspire their people and create more leaders along the way!

We would love to hear about your service excellence story!