I always enjoy reading the comments on my blog. Thank you for sending me so many neat comments. Some of my favorite ones came from a post I did back in December where I asked you to tell me your great customer service stories. One that really caught my eye was from Carol Lopez-Calleja.
Carol used to work in a hotel for a boss who was dedicated to making sure that the staff consistently provided great customer service. She had very specific ideas about how to make this happen, and one of those was cross training her staff in very different departments.
I've found that cross-trained associates help a hotel provide a very high level of customer service. And we encourage our hotels throughout our system to continue to cross train our people. For instance, if a guest needs help from a bell person and only a front desk agent is available, if that front desk agent has been cross trained with the bell staff, they will be able to help the person to the right room and handle their luggage rather than making the guest wait. The result is almost always a very satisfied guest who has received extra customer service. The key point in customer service is having the right person at the right place with the right knowledge to handle that customer when they come through the door.
Our employees gain a lot of knowledge from multiple departments, which helps them develop their careers and move up the ranks more quickly.
We don't mandate cross training, but we sure do encourage it. The management team at our Lincolnshire Resort in Lincolnshire, Illinois, is a real believer. Let me tell you about Ondina Perez, who began working at that property's coffee shop eight years ago. She had a lot of drive and a great desire to advance her career and she wanted to learn as much as she could. Over the past eight years she has cross trained in many departments such as room service, guest services, the hotel restaurant and banquet department. Currently, she's the property's housekeeping supervisor and her bosses think she'll make a great manager someday.
Our international hotels are very committed to cross training employees. When Hurricane Wilma devastated Cancun in 2005, many of our associates were not able to show up for work. But because the Area General Manager, Chris Calabrese, emphasized cross training, the hotel was able to get back on its feet very quickly. Those that were able to come in to work were able to help out in many different areas in the hotels and ensure that things got back to normal just as quick as they could.
Carol never identified which hotel or hotel company she worked for, but no matter who her employer may be, I have to commend her boss, as well as all our general managers who practice cross training. It gives our employees career opportunities and helps deliver great customer service and that's a great combination.
I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.