Today, we share our last post of The ultimate guide to ‘enabling positive experiences’ series in celebration of #WorldFMDay. Dirce Iervolino, Operations support manager at Bennett Hay, shares her insights on positive guest communication.

Personable service – a guide to positive guest communication

We’ve all been on the receiving end of great service and understand how much it can influence your opinion of an establishment, but defining that special something that makes service great is a whole lot harder.

Impact of positive communication on guests

We understand that the nature of our industry means that our front of house teams are “on the stage” daily and the way they communicate make or break a workplace guest experience. Hence, we have developed a training workshop which solely focuses on how to use positive communication when serving guests. The course covers the importance of verbal and non-verbal expression, listening skills as well as international etiquette.  The trainer offers alternatives to words that can be easily misinterpreted and gives guidance on how to use emotional intelligence to choose the most appropriate communication style depending on varying needs of guests.

Communicating through service style to accommodate different needs

The best way to deliver great service is to understand what the customer is expecting and what they need. The more you understand your customer, the better able you are to serve them. In corporate office environment it’s important to recognise different guest profiles. A visitor will have different needs to a workplace guest. Rarely, you’ll meet the same visitor on a regular basis, so the reception service style towards a visiting guest is mostly “first impact”. Within specific business scenarios, a visitor’s name is to be treated confidential, as there might be competitors or other candidates in the lobby. This requires a considered approach. We train our teams on the importance of reading visitor’s body language and attitude to understand their needs better, are they in a rush, are they looking around lost, what’s the likely purpose of their visit?

This week, we helped welcome the UK’s leading disability charity Scope to #HereEast where we provide reception service. To best prepare to serve visiting guests of the new tenant, our team received a refresher briefing on how to anticipate needs of guests with disability in a seamless and attentive way with due tact and understanding.  We ran through all possible questions for assistance from accessing speed-gates, through moving around, fire procedures, shuttle bus service to best places to eat. We wanted to ensure that our team are ready to make guests with disability feel comfortable and well looked after.

Working with a workplace guest requires a more personalised service. We encourage our front of house teams to get to know their regular guests. Providing an efficient service is all well and good, but remembering a guest’s name, understating their role in the company, favourite morning brew and previous conversations will make a world of difference to their experience.

Once you’ve built a strong understanding of your guests, you can begin anticipating their needs and apply a relevant service style to enable positive experiences. Knowing how regular guests like to operate, means you can foresee their needs ahead of time and act on them. This not only makes the life of your guest much easier, but also shows them that they are a priority which has been carefully considered. For visiting guests, as service professionals, we are often the first and perhaps only touchpoint they’re going to interact with and as such, should ensure that we represent the client business in a positive light.

Acting as the face of a company can be a daunting task, but when done well, enabling positive guest experiences can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying aspects of working in the industry.

Dirce Iervolino, Operations support manager at Bennett Hay