Managing Mondays

Wine Wednesdays

Cashew Wine

A Different Kind of Wine

On a brief visit to Roatan Honduras, a port of call that the ship I was working on was visiting, I decided to visit one of the resorts. On our way there, which was early in the morning, the guide on the bus was pointing out the many floras and faunas they have. All their exotic fruits he was mentioning, and the cashew wine that they produce. mmmm. Wait. What? Cashew Wine? What is this I said to myself? But he wasn’t elobarating so much, so I wanted to ask. What was this Cashew Wine from Honduras? 

Image from the internet. Not mine

The Cashew nut tree is very prominent in Honduras, especially in the South. This wine is fermented from the juice of fresh Cashew fruits, grown  in the village of Namasigüe in  southern Honduras. It has a rich aroma and embodies the character of its exotic parent tropical fruit. He said that the most prominent is the Acaxú wines, and they are on the dry side, drier than the ones produced in Goa, India and Belize. Oh, so other places make cashew wine too! And then he said that they have been making it for a number of years too! Wow! How come I didn’t know about this!?

The fruit of the cashew tree is an accessory fruit and is called the cashew flower, with a strong sweet taste and smell. In Honduras they have a dry cashew wine, however in Belize for example, it is considered a sweet wine. Either way, it is better served cold. Many also say that it is like a Port wine as it is quite strong in taste. The wine is made from the cashew apple pulp, which is very fruity and juicy, said to have notes of mango, raw green pepper and a little hint of grapefruit. Cahew wine is made through the distilling of the Cashew Apple juice. It was normally crushed with feet for maximum juice extraction, however, there are also new machines that they have now been using, due to the high demand. Fermentation lasts for 3 days, and normally takes place in copper pots.

Image from the Internet. Not mine

It is not as common and popular in the US and Europe and it gets quite expensive to get the licence to distribute, however, if you have a chance to visit Honduras or Belize, be sure to try cashew wine. Taste new flavors of wine, and compare to grape wine. In a time were more and more people are aware of their surroundings, nature, and opting to be vegan, gluten free and so much more, wine like cashew wine offers a great alternative and an even greater taste for those who choose it.

Cashew wine. Who knew?! I was very grateful to have learned something new and interesting, in a place I had never been to. Next time you are eating a handful of cashews, remember where they come from, and that their cashew flower fruit is now a cashew wine! Cheers to you!

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

There’s no I in Team

.….But there is I in Individual

I have always believed that when you have a tight and united team, whether it is a small team or a large team, the end product, whether a service or a product, is better. As Managers we always tell our employees to work together, to work as a team, to respect each other, compliment each other, work well together, help each other and so much more. It is also true that when a team really cares for each other, the work is done better. 


As a prime example, and one that I have done and witnessed in my teams, is that when 1 employee, 1 team member doesn’t know the answer to the guest’s or customer’s question, when they ask one of their team members, they give them the answer, or they help them assist the guest. Same when an employee has made a mistake, or given the wrong information for some reason, or was having a very bad day. I have seen it many times, were the guest comes back upset that he or she was givent the wrong information, and the other team mate doesn’t make the other one look bad in order to look good themselves. They apologize and let them know that it was a one off and that they are great at their job, and then assist.


 Now, if this employee would have told the guest “Yes I know, he is not good at his job, I’m sorry you had him to help you, but I can surely help you and I will let the manager know that he didn’t help you, or give you the wrong information”, that looks really bad on the team and the management. A team that works together, surely works better for the advantage of the guests or customers.

However, the managers sometimes still make the mistake that they see every team member as the same person. In order for the team to work well together and be successful, it needs different personalities, efforts, expertese, levels and different fortés. You cannot have everyone great at knowing how the system works, or everyone great at talking with the guests, or everyone good at the phone. You need a little bit of everything. Your employees characters and personalities matter a lot. It colors the team and they are all different. 

You might have a person that is always so happy and someone that sometimes needs a little push to regain the smile when shouted at from a guest. You will have someone that is always challenging you and questioning you as a manager and another one that wants to be in your work time all the time. You will have the one that always unites the team and plans nights out, and another one that doesn’t hang out too much. I’m sure you get the point by now. Everyone is an individual that contributes to the team’s success. So when you approach an employee to correct them in something, to praise them, to give them disciplinary action, to promote them , to ask for help, you need to know your employees well enough to know how to approach them. 

Don’t generalize and assume that everyone reacts and acts the same way! See the Individual in each employee and make sure they become a team!

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.

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.