Boosting Tuesdays

Boosting Tuesdays

A visit to the highly recommended Adelphi Restaurant

A beautiful evening with beautiful people and food

On a very quick visit to Malta, 2 days to be precise, I was invited to go to Adelphi restaurant in Rabat, Malta. I had already heard great things about it, so I was excited to go. Situated in a large passageway in the heart of Rabat’s centre, it is a perfect location for Rabat residents, Maltese coming from outside of Rabat, and tourists alike, to go and enjoy some mouthwatering dishes.

Upon entering, I got a sense of comfort, friendliness and very family oriented, which suited me well as I was there with my immediate family, ready to enjoy what Adelphi had to offer. After ordering a bottle of wine and talking to some of the waitresses, I was told that it was family run; from the owners of the restaurants, to the chefs and the waiters. That’s why I got such a homely feeling within seconds of being there!

Talking to KellyMarie, a joint owner of Adelphi along with her husband, she explained how everyone’s involvement is so important and so special to the huge success of Adelphi. Everyone working with detail and with a smile on their face, and I even got to go and meet 2 of the family chefs.

Adelphi offers several dishes from pasta, meat, pizza, fish, kids menu and so much more. I settled for the pizza since I hadn’t had pizza for quite a while, but I could also smell the meat and fish dishes on my table. With a huge apetite, I started eating my pizza and continuing to slowly sip on my red wine, while enjoying the company of my family, the ambiance and the friendliness of our waitress.

Upon more talking, I was informed that years ago (not years of my existence), it uded to be a cinema. Wow. This must be a treat for those that used to go there to watch a movie back in the day. Chatting away with our waitress, we were also informed that there will also be a boutique hotel, right above the restaurant. It forms part of the Quaint hotels in Gozo and will be the first one in Malta. As soon as this opens later this year, Adelphi will also be serving Breakfast and Lunch too.

What a great evening it was! I will definitely go back while on the island again. For all those tourists that go to Rabat and Mdina, be sure to go to Adelphi for some serious food and that good old Maltese style, local service with a smile! Bon Apetit!

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Leading by Example

Your Employees are the Result of You

Just like young kids absorbing everything their mother or father does, your new employees, whether they were there before you with another manager, or are new to the company, they will consciously and subconsiously absort the traits of their leader.

I always stress how important it is to lead by example. If you are always shouting at your team when they do something not up to company’s standards, they will start shouting at each ther and at the guests or customers. If you treat them nicely, positively, and take time to guide them through the processes and a step by step explanation, they will take their time with the guests and with each other. Even with you. If you don’t treat them right, they are not going to treat you right eventually either.

You need to create an environment where respect is visible, attention to detail and positivety is apparent. It all starts from you. It starts from the top. Whenever I visit a team on a cruise ship or hotel especially and notice certain traits from the team that are not so good, I always try to see how their manager works, acts and reacts. If a manager for example is not attentive to the team’s questions, requests and so on, they will in time act the same, whether they are getting training by someone, attending a meeting or even with their customers or guests. 

You need to always think as their leader, that they are watching your every move, seeing how you talk, how you deal with escalated issues, your time management, your precision, your work ethic, you positivety, your reaction to certain action, how you respond to difficult questions, how you act in really difficult situations, and so much more. Think. Think for a second. How would you like to see them work? That is exactly how you should work. If you blow up and get visibly upset when dealing with an angry customer, don’t expect your team to deal with the same situation in a different way. Don’t kid yourself and pull them to the side or have a meeting with them to see why they acted that way if you do the same.

Be the better Manager. Be the Better Leader. Show them how the work should be done, and you won’t have too many situations with your team. Always Lead by Example. It is one of the items I always focus on in all of the training that I give with different types of teams and Managers. Leaders and Managers are all different, but leading by example should be the same.

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Who Works for Who?

What Some Managers Get Wrong

I don’t mean to start off with the negative, but it is unfortunate to see so many employees become the manager of the team and suddenly think they are better than the rest. Of course, you are now the manager, or one of the managers, for a reason. You have worked hard, put in your efforts, did more than others and so on. But the moment you feel that because you are the Manager, you have a team to work for you and that your team owes you, is the moment that you are devaluing your team, yourself and what you do.

In any management training workshops that I do for many managers in hotels, firms, companies and cruise ships, I start by asking the same question; ” Who are you here for?” In the case of hotels and cruiseships, the majority of the managers tell me that they are here for the guests. WRONG. Managers that have thier own staff/ team to work directly with guests are not there for the guests. These managers are there for their team and their team is there for the guests. Of course, they are there to make sure the guests are happy, but they need to take care of their tram first. Same goes to firms and companies with clients. These managers don’t deal directly with the clients so, but their employees do. I’m not the first one to say this. 

If you feel that your team owes you and that they are there for you, you are very very wrong my friend! YOU work for them. THEY don’t work for you. If your team is not successful, then you are definitely not successful either. The manager needs to be the one working more than his team, developing them, helping them, supporting and empowering them. And this can only be done when the manager is highly present, attentive to his team, guiding and leading them.

When managers think that they have the team to work for them, the guiding, leading, coaching amd empowering stops, and instead, you get an unhappy, overworked, scared of the boss kind of team. Show them you are there for them to help them be better, to succeed and to develop. Remember that the manager’s success relies on the employees’ success, happiness, advancement, empowerment and so much more.

I have always worked hard for my teams. They didn’t work for me. I WORKED FOR THEM. AND STILL DO.

Boosting Tuesdays

Boosting Tuesdays

PLAIT- The Fast Growing Extra Successful Company

The Joys of Receiving Plait

 I am away most of the time. And by away I mean in a different place every couple of days or on cruise ships, which is a big part of my career as a manager and coach. But I love Malta and I miss certain products that can only be found there. Sometimes I want that Kinnie, or that litte bit of Twistees or Gallett. Joy ran through me when one day I found out about the Maltese company Plait, and guess what. I ordered the Maltese Plait. I sent it to my partner’s house (not in Malta) which is where I stay in between ship visits for work. Man was I happy to receive my first Plait!

Looking through their website http://www.plait.com.mt, I was impressed by how many box styles and types had come out. I had a chance to be in Malta for 3 weeks, last September and I wanted to try the wine box, since you all know I am a wine fan and student. You can choose either 2, 4 or 6 bottle boxes. This is perfect whether you live on your own or with your partner, or if you are having a little gethering with friends. You simply buy the 6 bottle Plait box and you are set. The variety is awesome too. The person that delivered this box was extremely happy to be delivering this box and even striked a cool conversation with me. 

Receiving this box from me to me was a gift that was well deserved I felt. Why not!? Or should I say wine not!? hahahaha. Ok. Focus Marie! As you can see below, I was enjoyong this wine straight fromthe box after delivery. I wasn’t enjoyng it alone, my friend was over, but I decided to have some fun with photos to commemorate such a great product.

Plait’s CEO, Daniel Fenech has worked extremely hard, and after giving him a call to let him know this idea and these products are amazing, I saw what a big passion he had to make his company succeed. So much so, a few days ago, he won the Entrepreneur of the year at the JC awards. Companies don’t just happen. They are the result of a lot of work, dedication and lots of passion. Daniel along with his team believe in what they are doing and they love doing it. They have introduced the Beauty Plait to join their other Plait boxes like the Beer Plait and the Organic Plait, apart from the ones I have already mentioned; the Wine Plait and the Malta Plait.

Listen, it’s almost  Christmas and a little birdie told me (well, I meant on Plait’s social media), that they are already taking orders  for the Christmas boxes. So don’t be disappointed this Christmas. Whether you want to buy a box for yourself or for a loved one, there are many choices and a huge variety as well as lots of special items and deals. With the high demand that Plait receives, my reccomendation would be to order now. I did! Visit their website http://www.plait.com.mt. It is very nice and user friendly. Happy Plaiting! :p I’ll keep on enjoying my Plait box for now. Cherio! 🙂

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Working with Guests and Customers- Continuation from Last week

How to deal with an Irate Guest

Last week on Managing Mondays, we started talking about the steps to take when you are faced with a very upset guest, and most of the time, it is because as a company or product, it failed their expectations. We mentioned the first 4 steps which were to remain calm and poised, to use your best listening skills and let them know you are truly listening to their concerns, remain calm and aknowledge the guest’s right to be angry, and to not take the encounter personally. You are there to help and they are reaching out to you because it is part of your work to assist them when they encounter a problem.


Today, we continue the rest of the steps. After listening to the guests, however long that needs to be, we then need to react and action. The next step is to actively Sympathize. After the customers vent, they want to know that you understand where they are coming from and how they are feeling. Express sympathy for their unpleasant customer experience. Respect and understanding go a long way towards smoothing things over. With sympathy comes in the next step which is to show Empathy. Put yourself in the customer’s or guest’s shoes. Would you be happy with what happened or what was supposed to happen but didn’t? There should be a show of emotion, without giving off your emotion, but your empathy. If this doesn’t happen, the next step of apologizing will not be as effective.

Apologizing grcefully is your next step. Whether the cutomer’s complaint is legitimate or not, is really irrelevant. You need to express an apology for the problem they are having (or perceive to be having). A simple straightforward statement like “I am really sorry that this has happened to you. Let’s see how we can be better for you. Don’t forget the Power of a Name. Addressing them by their name or last name is extremely important. Once you use a name, you are suddendly speaking with a real person, an individual that has a job, family, and a reason behind their frustration. 


It is important to speak soflty, especially if the guest is raising his or her voice or screaming back at you. If this is happening, you might want to take them inside an office or to a side, so that the other customers or guests are not being affected. The softer and quiter you speak, the more the guests need to listen to what you will be doing for them. If you try to shout over them, it becomes a verbal battle. The customer will eventually lower his or her voice to hear what you have to say for them. After all, they approached you for a resolution and you are letting them know what you will be doing. The next steps are finding a suitable solution and owning responsibility of the situation. The worst thing you can do to a guest or customer is to give their concern to someone else and they have to repeat, making them work during their vacation, or visit or experience. Don’t pass the buck as that makes you look incompetent or that you don’t feel like helping them. Make their problem yours and work towards fixing and providing a resolution for them.


Remember, this doesn’t come immediately, it takes practise, and patience with yourself to learn more of how better you can be to your customers or guests. If you missed last week’s Managing Mondays post, go to Captin Falzon on facebook or add Captain Falzon on wordpress blogs to be able to read it. Remember, the happier your guests, the easier your work will be! Happy Monday!

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Working with Guests and Customers- An Introduction

How to Deal with an extremely Irate Guest

If your work consists mostly of dealing and talking with guests and customers, then you have for sure at some point come across someone very upset, rude, or both. Most of the time it is because they are not happy with a service or product. After years of this experience, I will tell you now, that 98% of the time they are right to be upset and angry. But not directly at you (unless you really have done someting personal to the guests that affects them personally). And most of the time, they are genuine. It took me a few years to really have this embeded in me, until I had figured it out, mainly because of experience and different training sessions. And during that time, I would say, I pissed off a few guests with becoming angry because they were angry, didn’t beleive them, or made the situation worse. It didn’t happen a lot,  but I am not afraid to say it happened a few times in those few years. For me, now, that is unacceptable.

Today we will look at some of the many steps that the manager and the employee need to have run through theit thoughts whenever they are faced with a really upset guest or customer. We will go much more in depth in the blog sessions to come, but I wanted to briefly highlight a few of them today. Remember, how you respond can make the difference between a customer or guest that feels satisfied with the resolution and one who vows to never patronize your business again.

Steps:

The 1st step you need to take is to remain calm and poised. If this doesn’t happen or you loose it very fast, what follows is in vain. Believe me when I say this. It happened to me. As soon as you loose your cool, you are done. The next steps are very hard to achieve. If a guest is yelling, being loud, or otherwiese rude, nothing can be gained by responding in a similar manner. The customer’s tirade might make you ffel like yelling yourself, but don’t. Control yourself. Remember, it is not personal. They just need to let someone know and that someone is you, in your position. 

The 2nd step is to use your best lisening skills  and let them know you are truly listening. The first thign an angry customer or guest wants to do is vent, and to do so, you are there to listen. Listening patiently can diffuse a situation as long as they feel acknowledged. Body language is also very important. Miantain eye contact and a strong straight posture. This shows how closely you are paying attention to their problem. Take notes and don’t talk, let them talk. After they finish, repeat and summarize what they have said and ask if the information you gathered is correct. Be patient and aknowledge the guest’s right to be angry. 

The next big step, even though I have already mentioned it, is to NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Listen to their emotions without any of your emotions. It’s a very fine line and this is sometimes quite hard for many customer service agents to do and to realize, but if you work on it continuously, by time this becomes very easy for you. It’s a very fine line and this is sometimes quite hard for many customer service agents to do and to realize, but if you work on it continuously, by time this becomes very easy for you.

After these 4 steps, it is time for you to action.  There are a few more steps you need to take. Now that they have vented, you listened, you need to assist them, apologize and mean what you say and what you do.
Next Monday we will cover the next few steps, like sympathizing, empathizing, apologizing,  speaking softly, voicing your solution to the customer, owning it and taking responsibility. Stat tunes for thr continuation next week! Have a great and productive week.

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

What Type of Leader Should you Aspire to Be?

Here are a few notes on what to expect when you become a new leader and how to make yourself become a great one

When I became an Assistant Manager at the Cruise Line Company I work for, even though I had managed before, it was a totally different thing. Imagine the difference of quantity of staff, guests and work, between a hotel and very large cruise ships. During my first few weeks as the Assistant Manager, I needed time to know my team and my manager. I kind of remember being a little too soft, in an attempt to make sure they like me. Everyone kind of does it, but I knew it wasn’t the way. I also knew that I shouldn’t be the other extreme either, by just being too strict and telling them what to do. So I focused on showing them how I want them to work and talk to our guests by doing it myself. That way, I was leading by example.

Being a Manager doesn’t mean that you make your team work so that you could look good. Being a Manager is Leading your team into success and ensuring they are succesful. It means that you work for them because they work for the guests. You are there for them, to lead and guide them, protect them, train them, and make sure they are successful for themselves. When I then became the Manager, that was exactly what I aimed to do, with little failure.

If you expect your employees to come to work 5 minutes before, you should also do the same. If you expect your employees to treat your guests or customers with empathy and with kindness, you should do the same. Treat your employees really good. Respect their work, give them good feedback as much as possible, and listen to their ideas and also their life stories and what they are going through. BUT, don’t expect them to do the same for you. They don’t work for you, it’s the other way round. Don’t expect them to tell you what a good job you did with that irate guest, don’t expect them to listen to what is happening to you, and most importantly don’t expect everyone to like you. 

Once, I was opening one of our new ships and I had started training the managers and the teams by now, something I really love doing, and one of the employees told me “Wow Marie, you are so good. Everyone loves you.” While that comment was very positively natured and well meant by this employee, I did thank her but reassured her that it is not possible to have everyone love you and the way you work. If everyone loves you, then you are doing something wrong as a manager. Yes, the aim is to have the majority of the employees like you, and like working with you, but you cannot satisfy everyone. It is impossible. There will be either people who don’t like how you work or deal with things through charachter, others that stick to the past managers or others that like how you work so much that they get envious. So you see, “everyone loving you” cannot happen. As a Manager, you do need to have most of your employees liking you or else it doesn’t work. Respect your team and they will respect you. Bend over and backward and sideways for your team, but if they don’t do their job properly, show them how, and also show them the consequences and how you expect them to work, through your leadership and performance.

When you become a new manager, make sure you do get to kow your team and that they get to know that you are there for them. Set examples, not just deadlines. Set great and rewarding targets, not just numbers. Make sure they feel comfortable approaching you for assistance. And for yourself, as a leader, make sure you are happy leading, make sure you are doing everything in your power and work to achieve their success and not their love.

Be a Better Leader than you were Yesterday.

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Maximizers and Satisficers

Are you a Maximizer or a Satisficer? Or are you Both? Or do you use them in different life scenarios?

What is the difference between them and how do you use them Professionally and Personally?


About a year ago, I found a book and if I remember correctly, it was called “Why less is More”, or something along those lines, however I remember a lot from the content of the book, which is the most important. It confused me, but as I started reading the first few pages, I could immediately tell what the book was all about. It started informing how Maximizers and Satisficers behave in day to day life. The author also said that with the amount of choices for the same product that we have nowadays, it becomes very hard sometimes to make a quick decision. Take a packet of cereal for example. There are aisles and aisles full of cereal. How do you choose and how fast can you choose?

A Satisficer will take action after the criteria they are looking for is met. As an example, if one is looking for a cereal with the lowest sugar content and contains a few nuts and dried fruit, as soon as they find one, a.k.a. what they are looking for, they take it and buy it, and do not need to try and look for other products.

A Maximizer needs to make the optimal decision. So, this maximizer is also looking for the cereal with the lowest sugar content and contains a few nuts and dried fruit. However when the maximizer finds a product, he or she will keep on searching for a similar one, and compare, and tries to find another one and another one. So even if the maximizer finds what he or she is looking for, the maximizer will not make a decision until they have examined every product and compared everything. They need to know that they are making the best decision ever.

Most people will be more of a Maximizer or a Satisficer in life, but that doesn’t mean that they are always either one or the other. And that also doesn’t mean that if you are mostly a Maximizer in your personal life, that you are also so in your Professional life, or vice versa. Maximizers tend to spend a lot of time on one thing and sometimes, as a consequence miss out on other things or the subject itself. The author also said that Satisficers tend to be a bit more happier than Maximizers, as the latter spend too much energy on one thing. However, when it comes to business, work, and leadership, it could be very beneficial. 

As an example, I tend to sway between the both, or maybe I can be a limited Maximizer. I love to have the best, do the best and find the thing that I love, but I’m not going to spend an extensive amount on one thing. Sometimes, if I find something that I’m looking for and it attracts me, then I won’t look any further. That’s more towards the Satisficer side. At work though, whether I am preparing training, talking to an employee, producing manuals and training material, I do tend to be a little bit of a maximizer. 

If a Leader is a 100% Satisficer, chances are that a business or a team or a company will not become the best in their business. You should be aiming to be the best at what you do. A Maximizer is great for business and for the development of one’s self. Be a leader that sets examples to your employees or your team. Show them that you would want the best for your business and for them. Show them to work harder and to spend quality time preparing, choosing or working to Maximize everything they work for.

There is no right or wrong with being a Maximizer or a Satisficer, but the choice you make every day and at work is highly important on what you choose and how much time you decide to spend on what things. 

What are you mostly, a Maximizer or a Satisficer?

Managing Mondays

Managing Mondays

Choosing Your Words Carefully- The “No Problem” word

How Great is your Communication to the Team and to your Guests?

There is a word in the Customer Service Business that I despise. It’s the word “No Problem”. Read it, Listen to it. It has 2 negative words in it. “No” and “Problem”. However, almost everywhere you go, as an example, if you ask a waiter for an item, or even simply ordering your food, many of them will say “No Problem”. Especially if it is a request, there is a 91% chance that you will get a “No Problem” back. When the waiter gets you your requested item and you say “Thank you”, there is a 96% chance that you will get a “No Problem” back. I have a little problem with it. Why?

I love to Conduct Training wherever I am, even if unscheduled and the teams always appreciate the extra assistance in making them better at what they do

If a customer or a guest requests something and you are able to do it or provide to them, they will most of the time say “Thank you”. They are genuinely thanking you for being able to enhance their experience or attending to their needs. When you are telling them ” No Problem”, it is like telling them: “It took a lot of effort for me, but I am working in this position and have to help you whether I like it or not, and because I have to do it, I did it, even though it would have been easier for me not to need to do it.” Instead, we need to be saying “Absolutely”. Wow, what an amazing word to say to a guest or a customer. “Absolutely, I want to do anything I can to make you happy or to provide you with what you need.”

Maybe some guests or customers don’t realize it is such a negative word, however there are many people in the customer service business like me, that notice these things. Why would you not want to say something better than “No Problem”. You need to sound friendlier and that you want to be there and want to make their experience better. You and only you are responsible for providing their comfort, their experience or their service. How we talk and what we say to the guests may affect them subconciously. By carefully choosing very positive words, responses and also basic communication to them, will definitely affect how they rate you when they need to. You need to think of each and every guest or customer as your most important guest or customer.

Teach and guide your Team with Interactive Training and Role Play

I always make sure to include a “How to Communicate better to your guests”- (What to say instead of), in my trainings whether it’s onboard the largest ships in the world that I work on most months in the year, or whether I am invited to do a few Customer Service lessons at renonwed Hotels and Boutique Hotels around the world. I dedicate an entire module on what words to say that sound extremely appealing and satisfying to your guests and customers. Another example is a sentence starting with “Unfortunately we don’t….” If a guest or a customer asks you for something or a service that is not possible or available, by starting off with he word “Unfortunately”, you have already lost a lot of the guests attention because without saying anything more, you are already telling them you cannot provide it to them and as the guest already knows they are not getting the service or the item they want, they can either get upset before you tell them something else, whether it is an alternative or another solution. They stop hearing you for just a little bit. I have experienced all of this by the way, and as soon as I started to learn more how to communicate to my guests, it improved me, my service and the company tremendously. Start with something positive. You need to tell them that their request is not possible, but there are some other alternative solutions to it. So ease into it. Start by, for example, “Although we are not able to provide your requested service, we do offer…” How much nicer do I sound here! Much Nicer!

Extremely Happy buy hearing one of my team members talk so professional and positive to our guests

There are a lot of details that I could get into here with alternative responses, however it would be an extremely long blog. If you are interested in getting hold of this type of training, email me on: captainfalzon@gmail.com and I will be happy to provide it to you. I am always available to help your teams become better team players and leaders, therefore providing better service to your guests and customers! Happy Monday. Manage well, Lead well!

 

Managing Monday's

Managing Mondays

Employee Training

The Importance of Training your Employees


A few days ago I was doing a wine special with my partner at a (renowned) restaurant. This was a very big event, as the restaurant was under new management; one of many attempts to improve the quality of everything in the venue, in hopes of getting a boost to their business and attract the old and also new customers.

This was exciting! They bought our wine and we were showcasing it today. As we arrived, no manager was there, but one of the employees was expecting us. We assumed she was informed by the manager. We asked where best to set up. They had no idea. They called the manager- no response. We decided where it was best and they said “OK”. Since it was a special, we asked how much they wanted to sell by the glass and by the bottle, but they had no clue. They called their manager- No Response. We decided between us. When the manager came, he changed the prices. We had already sold some… That’s not a good move, as people talk to each other.

My partner and I, being managers for different large teams in Guest Services, wanted to make sure that all the bar servers and waiters knew of the price and how to market and talk to the diners, so we went round. We had already told the “shift leader” to tell all the bar and wait staff, about the wine special of the eve, but going round to get their feedback, more than 70% of them had no idea what the evening special was and what the price was, or that there was even a special! FAIL

Most of them also didn’t have many good manners and seemed flustered and not able to cope with the diner’s demands, who was who and which table had ordered what.

Training your Employees

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Bottom line is, everyone wants to get their business booming very fast and everyone likes to get money and prove people they can own or manage. But how about proving that you can lead and train your employees. When you work with guests or customers, work needs to include training sessions, empowering them to be able to do more than OK at their job. Your employees don’t just punch in to work when your clients are there or coming. You need to organize training sessions and workshops so they can all be your best employee, and trust me, they will make your job easier. Apart from the satisfaction of your guests, clients or customers, with the overall service and satisfaction of the product or service your business is giving, is the satisfaction of your employees. Yes, their satisfaction is highly important because you rely on them to deliver the service/product you promise your client/customers. The only way to do it is by empowering them with training sessions, brainstorming sessions and practice sessions.

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If the employees look clueless in front of you customers/clients, it is not their fault. It’s the manager’s fault, that doesn’t do enough listening and is quick to give feedback but doesn’t take it. Not being attentive enough, not training them enough. And what about your new employees? Who is training them? Are you monitoring them, motivating them, correcting them?

Employee training should be a great part of any customer and client oriented business. I have always believed it, always carry out my training sessions with passion, determination and with the aim of empowering the employees with knowledge and confidence

See you all at the next Managing Mondays, and get to know the different types of management, leadership and more in-depth sessions.

Ciao for now