Who’s the most important person in your organisation?

A few weeks ago I was asked to do a keynote on Customer Service for one of the UK’s best Wedding Destination Venues.

The brand – Oldwalls Gower have seen dramatic growth in their business over the last 7 years and this year they are forecasting to exceed 160 weddings, so they must be doing something right!

Like many successful business operations the key to this growth is predominantly down to the right business plan and then having the right people in place to deliver.

Oldwalls employ both front of house and back-end staff, with a variety of jobs from receptionists to chefs, sales to waiters, marketing to groundsmen, IT support staff to pot washers!

During a fast moving, fun packed afternoon talking about good, bad and indifferent levels of customer service experienced by the staff, it became apparent how focused Oldwalls’ staff are on their own company’s values, and that they fully understand the importance of delivering a great customer experience. In the service sector, service is everything and exceeding customer expectation levels is critical to business success.

Those values include:

  • Offer WOW service in all departments
  • Build a family team with family values & spirit
  • All staff to be passionate & determined
  • Aim to do more with less (money and working hours)
  • Have fun in the workplace, nothing wrong with a little weirdness!
  • Keep humble about our achievements
  • Operate the highest standards in all areas
  • Build open and honest relationships with our suppliers
  • Embrace and drive change for the good of the company
  • Be open-minded, creative & adventurous
  • Pursue staff growth by training and promoting within

I had various conversations with staff across the organisation but the stand out conversation for me was with a young man who worked as a pot washer in the kitchen. He made it clear how much pride he takes in his job focusing on cleaning to the highest possible standard. His enthusiasm was self-evident and he drew a lot of praise from other members of the Oldwalls team as they genuinely recognised and valued his contribution to the business effort. Without this young man’s efforts there would be no place for the chef and his team to prepare the food for the guests, which in turn would mean that there would be no food for the waiters to serve – nothing for guests to eat!

The knock on effect is that the venue could not provide food for wedding parties and therefore the marketing and sales teams could not sell a single wedding without food as part of the wedding package! If there are no weddings to sell, then there is a business plan that doesn’t work and that means zero growth and that means no jobs and no business at all.

So, well done to Mr Pot Washer! Without doubt he is a fundamental cog in this very successful business operation and he certainly does make a massive difference to the success of the business.

The message is a very real and simple one – Never underestimate the importance of your people and the impact they have on your customers and your business – respect and reward them accordingly!