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Importance Of Front Desk Staff Training Marketing Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 5182 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In modern times services organisation industry is seeing a shift in focusing of the organisation behaviour towards the customers. Now a day’s service organisations are more focused on ‘strong relational exchange’ between the company and consumer than the ‘transactional exchange’ to build up the strong base of satisfied customers. These relationships are having a significant impact on the profitability of the company, company’s market share, long term customer’s sustainability and in producing new market share for the organisation. Providing total quality services and offering customers their value for money is the need of modern era and is the central idea of any successful service providing organisation.

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Well trained and motivated staff is always a key to success for any organisation. Highly trained staff especially on the front desk of the hotel plays a key role in the business success and in customer’s satisfaction, a famous quotation ‘First impression is the last impression’ fits perfectly on the hotel industry. Customers always choose the luxury hotels due to their high expectation regarding the quality of services they will get from their and hence will not accept the low standard services provided by them. Customers always expect value of their money from the luxury hotels.

The following project provides the in-depth guide line for the luxury hotels, customer’s expectations and services provided by the luxury hotels. The project is a detail analysis of the customer’s behaviour towards these luxury hotels, their expectations and tells us that any gap between the service provided by the hotel and customers expectation shall not be occur. The project is detail study about overall scope in the hotel industry and how the management can improve their quality of service to create and maintain a strong base of satisfied and loyal customers. The relevant theories and studies has been used, and the project has been explore with the support of relevant business models.

Reason for selection

A changing nature in the behaviour of the consumer has influenced the market to become a place where things can be sold from business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) hence this has also provided an opportunity to the consumer to buy goods and services from they want to buy, when they want to buy depending upon from where they can get best value of their money. Market penetration, Product development, rapid change in the technological improvement, cost effectiveness, and excellent customer services is the key to success for any organization but this importance becomes more vital in the services industry where customers are well affected by the good customers services and the standard of the organization is can be judged that how well satisfied the customers are from the organization and how much they appreciate it. So any successful business ends and begins with the customer’s satisfaction (Sugandhi, 2002). High standard customer’s service and customers satisfaction is the need of modern day business and hence to achieve this standard well trained and motivated staffs becomes the essences for the business.


The study is intended to investigate some specific issues affecting the Hotel Industry with respect to the organisational performance especially related to HRM training. This will be a case study of Ritz-London to explore their employee training methodologies and their effect on employee retention.


The objectives are

1. To investigate the relationship between training and HRM.

2. To discuss the issues related to training and employees feedback.

3. To examine the research findings and evaluate the data.

4. To make recommendations based on research findings.

Literature review

Market stake holders are the key to success of every business and in modern days business the survival of the business depends highly on these market stake holders. High market share, Loyal and strong customers base provides the life blood to the organisation to hold the competitive edge over the competitors and to generate revenue which can help the company to make profits. Strong relationship between the customers and business is vital for the success of any services organisation whether small or large size. Well satisfied customers always provide a strong base to the business to stay on the track of success, to expand the business, to make profit and to hold the competitive edge over the competitors in the niche market environment. According to Bennett (1996) customer relationship management always seeks to established long term, trusting, good and cooperative relationship with the customers based upon the fact to provide and deliver high quality of customers services, act positively on the customers suggestions, fair dealings and the courage to get the long term advantages by overlooking and sacrificing the short term gains. Bowen and Schneider (1999) has also emphasis on the fact that the service organisation can retain the customers for the long time if the relationship between the customers and organisation is build upon the safeguard ,on the customers security and fairness and hence this can lead the business to generate profits.

Modern day business and marketers are following the foot step of the ancient business to be successful in the modern day business mixing them with contemporary marketing practices. Long term success of the business and competitive advantage on the competitors can be achieved by establishing the emotional bonding between the customers and the business. A shift is taking place from marketing to anonymous masses of customers to developing and managing relationships with 9more or less well known or at least some identified customers (Gronroos, 1994).

Training of staff





Understanding customer requirements

Meet customer expectations

Deliver customer value

Behavioural loyalty

Attitudinal loyalty

Revenue growth

Share of customer

Customer tenure

(Buttle, 2004)

How well satisfied the customers are with our services requires a highly level of research and can be define and can be measured through various ways (Oliver, 1997). Customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction are the part and parcel of modern day business and can be measured by doing the comparison between the expectation and the outcomes. Customer would be well satisfied and will remain with the business if the services have exceeded his/her expectations and hence when the quality of services exceeds the customer expectation it helps the company to make strong customer base by winning the delight of the customers. On the other hand dissatisfaction happen when the customers are not happy with the quality of services offered to them and this will tend to lead to the weak customer base (Looy, Dierdonck, Gemme, 2003).

Strong base of satisfied customers is the most important aspect of any marketing activity and market oriented firm and hence it is consider being the central idea of any outcome of such activity for any company or organisation. As from the firm prospect customer’s satisfaction is vital in gaining the market share, to increase the firm profitability, to expand the business and to get the repetitions and referral business which tend to lead to profitability for the company (Barsky, 1992).

Delivering of quality of services to all the customers is vital for the success of any service oriented organisation. Quality of service is subject to production i.e. total quality of good produced or services provided by the service provider is off high standard and the consumption activities that take place. Quality of service should exceed the customer expectation so that it can produced wow factor or x -factor in the mind of customer about the organisation so that it can help the organisation to create a strong base of loyal customers and hence customers act as word of mouth and refer the other people to use the product or services of such organisation which helps the company to generate more market share and get competitive edge over the competitors. The Nordic Model, introduced by Christian Gronroos argues that all the customers have certain expectation about the services they will get from certain provider than they will compare it with the actual services provided. If the services provided to the customer will exceed the customer expectation this is positive disconfirmation and if it underperformed than it is negative disconfirmation. According to Gronroos (1984) quality of services provided by the company to any customer has to two dimensions a functional or process-related dimension and a technical or outcome dimension. For instance if the services provided by the company exceed the customer expectation any minor mistake made by the company will be over looked by the customers but on the other hand if the service provided by the company don’t exceed by the customer expectation any minor mistake will create a big problem for the company.

Quality of service always leads to provide a strong base of loyal customers for the company. According to brand equity model if the customer prefer to use our good and services when the alternatives or the competitors have much high quality of services, more feature products with affordable pricing than high brand equity and customer loyalty exists on the if the customers prefer our services because of our pricing than low brand equity and loyalty exists for the organisation.



Image (Corporate/ Local)

Technical quality of the outcome: WHAT

Functional quality of the process:


Research methodology

Research methodology can be define in the following ways

Research methodology is a particular procedure or set of producers that someone uses in the particular field or report to get desired out comes.

Research methodology is use the of rules, business models, methods that are employed in a disciplined way for desired results

Research methodology is the analysis of particular procedures and principles that deployed in a particular field the basic idea behind this is to do the data collection, for the comparative study.

Research design

According to Aakar, Day and Kumar (2003) ‘research design is a sort of blue print that have detail guide line for people about a particular project or case study to achieve the desired set objectives’. A research design is the back bone of any research project it is vital to understand the research before carrying on any research work hence it also act as glue that strengthen and holds the research project together and failure to understand the research design can results in failure to get the desired results of the project. Research design is also helpful to structure the research project.

To design and implement the research design requires a interrelated decisions that can guide and hold the research project together and most important of all these decision is the decision of research criteria approach which will determines that how the data and information will be collected and transformed in shape of desired outcomes. This research approach is dependent on the fact what is the nature of research that needs to be conducted. According to (Aakar, Kumar and Day 2003) Exploiting, Descriptive and Casual are the three categories of research approaches that can be used.

Case study: An introduction

A case study is a particular research method that is used in designated fields which instead of using the old traditional methods of examining large sample and various protocols to examine the limited number of variable uses the qualitative research. According to (Feagin, Orum, & Sjoberg, 1991). Case study is an ideal methodology in a situation where a holistic, in-depth investigation is needed. Case study is a systematic approach that is required to be implemented in order to do in dept analysis of a single instance or event. It is used for data collection, to have detail analysis of particular event and reporting of outcomes which leads to a better understanding for researcher of any instance that happens and the outcomes of that instance.

Ritz Hotel Back Ground

Ritz is well renowned name in hotel industry came on map of this industry in early 1927 when a local real estate developer Edward N. Wayne was advised by the Boston Mayor to build a five star hotel. Edward N. Wayne at that time was in a process of constructing an apartment building which he later changed into a hotel building and set up the path for Ritz Hotel Chain.

The name Ritz was chosen because of its good reputation in Europe and in Boston society so developer was assures of quick success its new project. The Ritz Carlton Company and The Ritz Paris has authorised the developer to set up new hotel in the heart of Boston under their name and Ritz Hotel started their journey by daily rate of £15 for each room. In recent times Ritz is well known because of its high standard of service, dinning and facilities which also serve as a bench mark for the hotel. Ritz hotel has been chosen for this project due to its high brand reputation in the hotel industry worldwide. Instead of choosing Ritz Hotel in particular area or country the researcher has decided to choose the globally renowned hotel chain in order to have in depth analysis of global scope of the hotel industry and the issue that can be raised in order to provide quality of service.

Components of the Case Study

Qualitative data collection method has been used to commence working on this case study. Qualitative data collection method helps the researcher to have in depth analysis and hence that will prove to be an opportunity to gather and compile the information which will lead to the fact that what customers wants, what their expectations are from the hotel, how the interaction was with the staff, what affect staff has left on the mind of the customers, whether the factor was able to create a WOW factor in the mind of the customers or not, whether quality of services provided by the hotel has positive or negative impact on the customer. Qualitative research is also helpful to measure the customer satisfaction or customer loyalty with the hotel. Qualitative research is also suitable to have detail review of the staff training which has immediate effect on the customer loyalty and customer behaviours towards the hotel.

Data collection

In case studies, the collection of data treated as a design problem that the structure and the internal validity of the study and the external validity and reliability will increase. Yin (1994) identified six main sources of data for research is a case study documents, records, interviews, direct observation, participant observation and physical objects. It should be noted that not all sources are mainly required in each case study, but the importance of multiple data sources, the reliability of the study is well established. No source is an absolute advantage over the other, but can supplement and may be used in combination. Therefore, a case study using several sources is useful for the study. This table indicates the strengths and weaknesses of each type.





stable : repeated review

unobtrusive : exist prior to case study

exact: names etc.

broad coverage: extended time span

retrievability: difficult

biased selectivity

reporting bias : reflects author bias

access : may be blocked

Archival Records

Same as above

precise and quantitative

Same as above

privacy might inhibit access


targeted – focuses on case study topic

insightful – provides perceived causal inferences

bias due to poor questions

response bias

incomplete recollection

reflexivity – interviewee expresses what interviewer wants to hear

Direct Observation

reality – covers events in real time

contextual – covers event context


selectivity – might miss facts

reflexivity – observer’s presence might cause change

cost – observers need time

Participant Observation

Same as above

insightful into interpersonal behaviour

Same as above

bias due to investigator’s actions

Physical Artefacts

insightful into cultural features

insightful into technical operations



Table 3: Types of evidence, their strengths and weaknesses

Source: Yin (1994, p. 80)

This project is the collection of data is both primary and secondary. Initially, secondary data collected through existing articles, journals and books on the available research on CRM in general, service quality, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. The data is filtered and sorted, and the relevant sections related to hotel and catering industry to the researcher. The advantage of the collection of secondary data was money was cheap and easily accessible. The secondary data collected was useful in addressing issues of research, combined with primary data collected. Primary data were collected by the researcher through Inquirer.

Cover points

The main topics of discussion at the focus groups were as follows.

What the customer wants and expects from a luxury hotel?

In case of service failure, what is the expected service recovery from the customers’ point of view?

Does Ritz-London live up to the customer expectations?

If you were a customer of Ritz-Carlton, what would your expectations be?

What recommendations would you give to improve training of staff for hotel industry at large?

Types of questions

Open-ended Questions: Questions should be formulated so that the respondents do not just answer yes or no, but we need to pursue. So the question should be “what makes a customer feel that you are satisfied with your stay in the hotel?” Instead of asking “do as customer are you satisfied?”

Semi-structured Format: Although there are a series of pre-planned questions to ask in a questionnaire, the investigator should be able to ask natural flow, based on the information provided by respondents.

Closed ended questions: The observer must have some close ended questions for clarity and better understanding of the defendant to seek.

Conversational: The questionnaire should talk, even if his / her role in the first place, a record. There should be a smooth transition from one topic to another.



Questionnaire is the most adequate tool to capture how a person perceives a particular domain. Its combination of faith in what the subject says with the scepticism about what she/he is saying, about the underlying meaning, induces the person to continue questioning the subject in order to confirm the hypothesis about his/her beliefs (Honey 1987).

Allows deepening, discriminating, and clarifying customer’s conceptions on any general subject and on maltreatment in particular. .

Questionnaire can incorporate different material: dilemmas, practical situations to be solved, stories, object manipulation etc. as a basis to ask on a particular topic.

The use of questionnaire serves also to test other types of material.

It is a time consuming method, requiring not only more time to collect the data but also to analyze them.

Some training is essential in order to avoid two different possible effects in the interview:

a) the suggestion of answers or

b) not asking enough due to a certain fear to bore the sample.

Table 4: Advantages and Disadvantages of questioner

(Creswell, 1997; Denzin & Lincoln, 1998 and Silverman, 2000)

Creswell, 1997; Denzin & Lincoln, 1998 and Silverman, 2000)

The Process

The main questions asked to interviewees (customers) that helped in addressing the research questions are as follows.

What would you as a customer expect from your stay at Ritz-London? To what extent Does Ritz-London meet your expectations?

Is there a dark side to CRM at the Ritz-London? Does Ritz-London have any gaps in service quality?

Are there any other negative aspects of the service delivered at Ritz-London?

In case of service delivery not meeting your expectations, what is the service recovery you desire?

What recommendations would you give to possibly reduce the dark side of service at Ritz-London and for hotel industry at large?

Anything else, you would like to share about Ritz-London?

The main questions asked to the employees of Ritz-London when interviewed were as follows.

Why do you work at Ritz-London? Are you happy working with this hotel?

Do gaps in staff training for front desk exist at Ritz-Carlton? How are they dealt with?

Is there anything you would like to mention as a negative aspect at Ritz-London?

Do customers appreciate the efforts made by the hotel to ensure superior service quality?

Anything else that you would like to share?

Key issues of Data collection: Reliability, Validity and Limitations

In general, the reliability is the “consistency” or “repeatability” of action research (Methods of Social Research, 2006). Reliability and validity in research, in particular to the measurement data will be used for the research question. In most cases, the body count variables is the central issue in determining the reliability and validity of the data, the process of data analysis often a problem, although unstructured data. Which data collection method is used, the intent accurately. The reliability of data collection refers to the consistency, stability and repeatability, which determine how much you can trust the results (Nettom, 2006).

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The potential for over-reliance on document as evidence in case studies has been criticized. There would be a danger of this happening if the researcher is inexperienced and mistakes some types of documents for outright truth (Yin, 1994). The reliability of direct observation is an important concern. The use of multiple observers is a way to guard against this problem. The researcher made ​​sure that he was impartial in all direct observations, interviews and focus group interpretations outcome analysis, providing information he collected, without any personal changes or biased analysis. The examiner gives the assurance that the data collection and analysis was done in a way that would be reliable and valid for future references. Qualitative research has been criticized on the grounds of reliability and validity, but it was the most appropriate approach for the study and performed religious and sincere.

This study was subject to certain limitations that shall be discussed in this section. Some of the major limitations are as follows.

The researcher did not have enough time to make a further detailed investigation into the dark side of the training for the reception in a hotel industry. The method used for primary data collection was focus groups and depth interviews and because of time constraints, only two supervisor’s questionnaires could be done.

There was not enough time and availability word to multiple case studies research. Moreover, conducting further research requires very expensive data collection and therefore was beyond the affordability of the researcher.

Since qualitative research is characterized by subjectivity, staff and the sample could be biased in their answers. However, the author was sensitive to this issue and has all possible measures to address this aspect.


 Ritz-London is a luxury five star hotel located in Piccadilly London.

Ritz manages personal part of the hotel operation for many years. He hired renowned chef Auguste Escoffier cook dishes to offer to the opulence of the decor of the hotel meeting, he placed a special bell at the entrance door which was the staff of the imminent arrival of duty to notify. The high demands his staff and the ultimate luxury that gave the visitors were kept entirely foreign to Victorian Londoners, and the sensation caused in the hospitality industry caused a dramatic shift of focus in this industry.

Three Steps of Service

The three steps of service that are instructed to all staff members are as follows.

1. A warm and sincere greeting. Use the guest name.

2. Anticipating and meeting the needs of every guest.

3. Nicely farewell. Give a warm good-bye and use the customer’s name.

Service Values

The service values are such that the staff members feel proud to be providing service rather than simply employed at Ritz-London because of the following reasons.

1. You build strong relationships and create Ritz-London guests for life.

2. Always meet the expression and unspoken needs of their visitors.

3. They have the power to create a unique, memorable and personal experience for their guests to create.

4. Understand their sovereignty to the achievement of the key success factors and create Ritz-London Mystique.

5. They seek opportunities to continually innovate and improve The Ritz-London experience.

6. They own and immediately resolve guest problems.

7. Create an environment of teamwork and lateral service the needs of customers and employees to meet.

8. They have the ability to continuously learn and grow.

9. Participate in project planning that apply to them.

10. They must feel proud of professional appearance, language and behaviour.

11. They must remember privacy and safety of their guests, colleagues and confidential information and asset.

12. They are responsible for uncompromising levels of cleanliness and creating a safe and accident-free environment.

Research findings

This section provides the reader with the key findings related to the research conducted through questionnaire.

Sample groups findings

This section shall provide the reader with the key findings and outcome summarized from the two focus groups conducted. The findings are presented relating to each of the research questions.

1. To investigate the relationship between training and HRM.

2. To discuss the issues related to training and employees feedback.

3. To examine the research findings and evaluate the data.

4. To make recommendations based on research findings.

Relationship between training and HRM

Often luxury hotels promise or guarantee a certain level of comfort that count and determine, based on the decisions of the management of the hotel and not necessarily customers. This aspect can lead to a gap in the quality of service that the customer expects more than the word luxury from what is actually provided by the hotel

Miscommunication happens between the hotel industry and the management of visitors or guests and staff members. This communication gap can often lead to situations where the relationship with the host always broken.

The researcher found that a questionnaire to customers angry when the hotel tries to make the most of what you want from the hotel know to know them. Invasion of privacy is not tolerated by customers. Customers appreciate the efforts of the hotel know your tastes and preferences, if you want the hotel to be aware that it is not even insulting if the notes about their customers up-to-date. Some customers do not want a relationship with the hotels, and should be shaken especially if the hotel does not respect their decision.

Education is very important for the staff to supervise the behavior and expectations of the customer.

Issues related to training and employees feedback

The management of the Ritz-London certainly tries its best to deliver quality services, but we understand that some customers do not want so elegantly done all the time. Some customers expect a casual atmosphere while on vacation and a very classy and formal set-up could make them feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. At this stage, the employees need to be trained to understand the situation.

On the other hand, the management assumes that its commonly understood by the staff. The front desk staffs suffer most as they are the one who get all the pressure.

The hotel management trains staff in the beginning but there is no regular refresher course. Hence the staffs feel difficulty to manage with different kind of customers.

These examples highlight the fact that there surely is a management perception gap that exists and the management must try to close this gap. Management must know what the customers at their hotels want and try to train its staff.

The Ritz-London is well equipped with technological/ operational support. As informed by the employees during interview, the observations made by members of staff are fed into the system to be used for future reference by any member of staff in any Ritz-London property worldwide.

Ritz-London must ensure that the service delivery gap which hardly exists is closed to further improve its already renowned reputation for high class service quality.


Research has shown that customers actually use their own perception of the quality of service to have. Customers want service in line with their expectations. Service gaps are usually not tolerated by many customers, especially if they pay for a luxury stay. Customers pay attention to what they get and how to receive them. Customers can forgive minor errors in service, but repeated failures of services and inappropriate behaviour of any kind by hotel management or staff. Customer demand based on their individual definitions and fulfilment of desires leads to satisfaction. The hotels should treat their customers as people and not just objects or ways to earn profits. The attitude of the hotel must be customer oriented and customer desired quality of service should be a primary concern for the hotel. For this purpose, front office staff must be trained appropriately in order to get good results.


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