One chilly night, when coming out of the pool at Solage Calistoga, I was greeted with a freshly-warmed towel from the spa attendant on duty. It was a simple gesture that had the biggest impact on my experience there: one employee recognizing what would delight me at that very moment.
I use this moment as an example in much of my work. Companies want to know how to get this to happen all the time. They write it into extensive manuals on service standards. They conduct training workshops to show people how it’s done. They measure its consistency with things like “secret shop” reports. At the end of the day, this girl gave me that towel, not because it’s written in their standards book, but because she wanted to. Hiring for culture and a true (read: genuine) spirit of hospitality is infinitely more important than hiring based on experience alone. Hire seven other guys and girls like the one with the towel (then encourage them to think for themselves), and you’ll be delivering spot-on service with ease.