NOTE: This is Part 2 of a series of posts inspired by 40 very active hours of travel on March 13-14, 2015. There will be at least 2 more entries in this series. For Part 1 “I don’t care about $2, click here.
So I made it through security after interacting with Erin, and was heading to my gate. Being a little parched, I stopped at the Ruby Tuesday quick serve location to get a bottled water.
This is one of those outcropping locations that are connected to the larger restaurant so us travelers can grab a quick bite OR be drawn into the larger establishment for heartier fare. Just a bottle of water for me, thanks.
As a I approached, I saw the cashier, Aleshia, of the outcrop talking across a wall behind her to an employee from the restaurant proper. To Aleshia’s credit, she stopped “talking” to him when I came up. But, she also didn’t actually talk to me. The dude behind her had asked her a question about vacation time, and she sort of stared at me blankly while processing the sale. It was as if something else was on her mind…
As it turns out, there was. As soon I was handed my receipt, she answered the dude’s question as if he had just asked it. As if the time I just spent giving them money did not exist. Maybe I didn’t exist?
I have to give slight, and I mean slight props to Aleshia for not answering the dude during my transaction. But I think I would also have to take those props away because clearly her mind was not on the transaction or the sale… it was on remembering what the dude said so she could respond as soon as I stopped bothering her.
If Aleshia gets some props in this situation (even though they are later rescinded), the dude gets negative props, demerits, and bizarro world-kudos. His behavior should be appalling to any leader of a hospitality or service-oriented company. He was distracting another employee from doing her job while also very likely neglecting his own duties. A true over-achiever.
Like Erin though, I can’t say I completely blame Aleshia or the dude. They get some blame of course because they chose their own actions, but my question is who is allowing this to happen. This CAN’T be the first time a conversation was held over that wall, and probably not the first of it’s kind between the dude and Aleshia. So who is there to keep these folks in line?
One of the topics I was speaking about on this trip was visible leadership. The importance of visible leadership was reinforced last year on my annual roller coaster-palooza trip last year, where the locations with the best guest service also had leaders that were out and about and visible… oh, and doing the right things. Imagine… great guest service and great leadership being tied together?? Who would have thunk it?
Turns out, a lot of people should be thinking it. You cannot have great service without a great leadership team who is visible, engaged, and has the skills to communicate and inspire their teams. Leadership and guest service go together like peanut butter and jelly… Batman and Robin… Zan and Jayna… Lewis and Clark… Calvin and Hobbs… Ben and Jerry.
Where would Ben and Jerry be if there was no Ben or no Jerry? (If you are a fan of their ice cream, you probably don’t even want to fathom the thought.)
And where would service be without great leadership? The Ruby Tuesday outcrop shop at the Orlando International Airport.
Don’t let that be you.
Thanks for reading!
About the author: Matt spent a lot of time as a kid watching the Super Friends (which explains the Zan and Jayna and bizarro world references). When Matt is asked about his favorite super friend or super hero, the answer is always the same. “It’s Superman, because he can fly.”