Mission: Possible

I recently wrote about the wonderful experience my husband and I shared on our honeymoon in Mexico.  We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, where gratuity was included with our fee, however we received such wonderful service that we felt compelled to tip anyway – especially because the service we received was not based on the tradition of receiving gratuity.  From what we could see this service stemmed from excellent training and a genuine love of the hospitality industry.  I wrote about our disappointment upon returning to the “real world,” where bored high-schoolers expect a 20% tip, no matter how much attention they give their tables or how friendly they are.  Four years later, we still reference our time in Mexico when we go out to eat.  We have had a handful of servers that we felt were “Mexico worthy,” and have made sure to tip extra to show our appreciation.  However, for the most part we have encountered service workers who are entitled and for lack of a better word, lazy.  Not necessarily because they are sitting down on the job, but because they are so very clearly not trying; not trying to give us a positive experience, not trying to be friendly, and not trying to make us want to come back.

Recently, we had one of the worst servers we have ever encountered.  We discussed her lack of enthusiasm and skill all the way home, and it led us to thinking about the key pillars that Royal Services has included in their mission statement.  The acronym OPTIC stands for Ownership, Professionalism, Tenacity, Innovation and Collaboration.  These pillars are perfect for the service that Royal provides to its partners, but they can also relate to a wide array of different companies and careers.  In the case of this server, we will call her Rhonda, we felt that she epitomized the exact opposite of each of these pillars.

Ownership: Assume accountability for completion of all steps in the customer engagement relationship. Ensure the best outcome for our clients through planning, execution, and sharing lessons learned.  The part that stands out to me in this step is ensuring the best outcome for clients.  In the sense of being a restaurant customer, we were, in effect, Rhonda’s clients.  She did not go out of her way to ensure a good outcome for us, as a good outcome would mean we would be counting down the minutes until we could return!  Rather, Rhonda actually did her best to ensure that we had a negative experience by acting irritated and grouchy with us through our entire meal.

Professionalism: Effectively communicate and educate our clients to achieve our common goals. To be viewed as knowledgeable within the many trades and customer specific tasks in which we manage through continuous programmatic learning.  Rhonda did not come across as knowledgeable about the menu, the restaurant or its guests.  We arrived at the restaurant at 1:30 and I ordered the very yummy bottomless mimosa special with my brunch.  Rhonda informed me in a very bored and annoyed voice that the deal ended at 2:30 so I probably shouldn’t get it.  I was so taken aback by someone in the service/sales industry turning down a sale that I agreed with her.  But then I thought, that’s a full hour!  That’s plenty of time!  When I found her and placed my order, she still acted as though I was making a mistake.  Surely her boss would not be happy to know that she was turning down business!  And if she was truly looking out for my best interests, she did not do a very good job of communicating that to me.

Tenacity: Develop a mindset and communications dynamic that strives for excellence that flows through to our customers, vendors, and the Royal team.  Again, the communication we received from Rhonda was unenthusiastic and certainly did not show us that she was striving for excellence.  In fact, we wondered a few times why she was in this business in the first place, as she certainly did not seem to enjoy it very much!

Innovation: Strive for creative, cost-effective solutions in a constantly changing world, emphasizing technological improvement and environmental awareness.  Now, I cannot 100% assert that Rhonda does not embrace this pillar at her place of work.  However, based on my experience with her, I think it’s safe to assume that she is not going out of her way to think of creative ways to save the restaurant money.  Unless of course she took one look at me and realized that if anyone could take full advantage of bottomless mimosas, it was me, and she knew that it would be more cost-effective if I did not in fact order it.

Collaboration: Maintain a free flow of knowledge and information through honest discourse and open dialog. Share and implement best practices for the betterment of the client and Royal team. This brunch was an opportunity for my family to get together with my elderly grandmother, and unfortunately while we waited for our food she began getting very lightheaded, probably due to hunger.  I was able to fish out a couple of packs of fruit snacks from the diaper bag to hold her over, but just before the food arrived my dad was getting ready to take her home.  Luckily Rhonda arrived and began placing our plates on the table (after complaining a few times about the fact that we had changed seats), and what do you know but my grandma’s food was not with the rest!  Of all people to have to wait even longer for her food, and to be served last!  We all started handing her food from our plates while Rhonda took her time going back to the kitchen for the last plate.  If Rhonda had made any effort to communicate and converse with our table, she could have had an opportunity to go above and beyond and order my grandmother’s food on the fly.  That would have been so impressive and thoughtful, exactly what you would like to see in a server.

Obviously, these pillars were not created for the restaurant industry.  However, you can see how they can be applied to a variety of vocations and are useful to keep in mind as you are working with customers, clients and partners.  There is a reason that Royal has clients who have stayed by their side for over 20 years, and their mission statement and their commitment to living up to that mission statement are a big part of that.  Have you worked for a company with an excellent mission statement?  How has that inspired you to go above and beyond at your job?  Leave us some comments below!


2 thoughts on “Mission: Possible”

  1. Fabulous post – I agree, I think this can be applied to any service. I work with children with emotional difficulties and part of my job is ensuring they have the best day they possibly can at school. I could link all of these pillars in some way to what I do. Thankfully I am not a Rhonda and do go out of my way to support the children and their families. Great learning to be had here 🙂


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