Phrase of the month
By : Heng Sopheap (National Institute of Management)..Illustration by: Sao Pagnarith ( June, 2002 Volume 2 No.6 )

The Spirit of Hospitality
Service falls outside the limits of the guest's expectation that it is deemed satisfactory or unsatisfactory. A Disappointing Experience. In an article published in The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly. Bonnie J. Knutson, a faculty member at the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management at Michigan State University, stresses how meeting or exceeding guest expectation is paramount in generating guest satisfaction. Following is Knutson's personal account of how not to serve a guest. Having spent the morning giving a seminar on this very topic of customer satisfaction, I was tired, hungry, and on a tight time schedule. So I stopped at a nearby deli-type restaurant that feature "New York Dogs." When I saw both chili and hot dogs on the menu, I know exactly what I wanted-no, what I needed-for lunch: a nice, long juicy coney dog covered with chili and onions. I love coney dogs.

Stepping up to the counter, I was greeted by a friendly order taker. The conversation went something like this: Order Taker: "Hi, can I help you?"
Me: "Yes. I'd like a coney dog and black coffee."
Order Taker (Looking perplexed): "We don't have coney dogs."
Me: " I know they're not on the menu. Just put some chili and onion on your hot dog, and we will call it a coney dog."
Order Taker: "But, ma'am, we don't have coney dogs."
Me (determined): "You have hot dogs, don't you?"
Order Taker: "Yes."
Me: "You have chili, don't you?"
Order Taker: "Yes."
Me: (beaming): "Then there's no problem, just put some chili on the hot dog and some onions on the chili, and I'll have my coney dog."
Order Taker: "But we do not have coney dogs."
You get the picture. The conversation went on in this vein for another three minutes before I learned that the reason she couldn't sell me a coney dog was that she didn't know what to charge me. It wasn't in the manual, and company policy didn't give anyone at the unit level the authority to create a menu item or change a price. I didn't care. All I wanted was a coney dog.
Obviously, this encounter fell outside the guest's expectation. And not meeting guest expectations about service often ruins the desired result -- a repeat customer.