Communicating for Quality

While in Los Cabos, Mexico we stayed at an excellent hotel named the Hoteles Marquis. Like all memorable hotels the Marquis has a terrific location right on the Pacific coast, it’s buildings are beautifully architected, and their service is top-notch and high quality.

Decisions of location and architecture are strategic and discrete; those decisions are made upfront and you go with them through the life of the hotel’s property and business. Service, however, is different. It is obviouly hard to develop a high quality service and service is on-going, it’s something that you constantly work on.

One morning at the Marquis we were waiting around in the hotel’s outdoor lobby for a bus to take us to an ATV adventure through the Mexican desert and coast. I was having coffee at the top of a short flight of stairs that led to a stone and tile landing connecting another flight of stairs. A young man working for the hotel and sweeping the landing part caught my attention.

At first the floor didn’t appear dirty to me. He was using a wide angled broom to collect the dirt and sand into small piles that he later swept into a stand-up dust pan that had a long handle. He worked meticulously, using the longer part of the broom to clean the corners where the landing met an adjacent wall. And he worked thoroughly, sweeping each area multiple times until he was sure that part of the floor was completely clean. He was also organized and he was methodical covering every square inch. I was impressed.

For a moment I wondered how his managers at the hotel might have trained him to be such a great sweeper. They could have shown him to use the angled edge for corners and to think in patterns so he got the best coverage. Maybe his manager worked with him a few times and then periodically watches him work to make sure he’s keeping-up with the service quality standards of the hotel. But in fact I don’t think that’s the way they do it. That young man was too detailed and too passionate about the way he was going about his work. Instead I think the only direction he got from his managers was to make the floors beautiful for the hotel’s customers and guests. And the young man tirelessly dedicated himself to deliver the best quality he possibly could to his job.

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