Culture of Service

January 15, 2019

I recently went to Mexico on vacation with my family where we stayed at one of those all inclusive places. While down there, our US president gave his first oval office talk which was about, of all topics, building a wall to prevent Mexicans from coming into our country. I’m not saying that the wall is a bad idea nor am I going to get political but just setting it up as backdrop to the current environment while down here.

It’s been 25 years since I was last in Mexico. I got familiar with the people and the culture while working on the advertising for the country in my former career.  I quickly recalled on my arrival to this country the kindness and passion to serve these people possess.

 My three daughters got a kick out of the way the women staff would sing “holaaaa” letting the letter a hang on like a note in a song while flashing a big sincere smile.  Not only do these people have a passion to serve with kindness but they are truly happy.  

It makes me doubt what I learned in my customer service training that anyone can be taught good service (which is the reason for this blog).  

Are some people/cultures naturally inclined to serve?

Are others not?

These are the questions I ask myself as I’m constantly greeted with smiles and a willingness to serve my every whim.  

No surprise while down here, the staff would respond with “my pleasure” after we thanked them – one of our top service concepts.  They smiled constantly- another Fab Service fundamental.

My family was regularly “surprised and delighted” with the service we received.

These are all Fab Service concepts but the the most impressive thing here is that EVERYONE lives it. It’s pervasive and infectious. You expect this kind of service from the front desk or the waiters but when you get an “holaaa” and smile from the guy weeding in the hot sun, you know something is different here.  More impressive was that I noticed they were like this with each other! They would greet their fellow co-worker with that same sincere kindness they showed to the guests. It was real! 

Although this may be cultural in countries like Mexico, it’s also prevalent in great companies  which build a culture of service. Service has to be understood from our people at the front counter to the people pressing our shirts who never see our customers.   

This reminds me of a breakfast meeting I had in a restaurant in Greenwich.  I got there a half hour before the place opened when the clean up crew was still there.  It surprised me when they let me in and gave me a table while they got ready for the day?  These were not the waiters and waitresses but the clean up crew and I wasn’t just 5 minutes early but a whole half hour.  

Why was I surprised? So often employees are trained to follow the rules and not the customer.  So often employees are focused on the task and not why they’re doing it in the first place.

The culture of service and kindness on vacation is the way I envision Fab Service and if it can be experienced in Mexico and Greenwich, it can be experienced here!