The Four Season Palm Beach Resort in Florida is about the closest thing you can get to a costal oasis within the continental United States. It’s a chic yet classic Florida luxury resort known for it’s swaying palm trees and fresh coastal breezes. Even though it’s just outside of the city of Palm Beach and minutes from the airport, the property makes you feel like you’re on a secluded island.
I made reservations for a few nights to scope out the property for a future corporate event. It also happened to be during my wife’s birthday, so it made a nice getaway.
During our stay, I agreed to dinner one night with Kathy, my sales contact from the property. She wanted to treat us to a nice dinner, showcase the culinary team and discuss our meeting further. During the appetizer course she mentioned something that caught my attention.
“Our team here will take very good care of your clients. Every morning we review who is on our property, discuss how we can serve them better and go over any glitch reports,” Kathy stated.
“Glitch Reports?” I asked.
“Yes. Every shift we review any glitches with our guests. We talk about what happened, who apologized and did we make it right? I can make sure that you receive a copy of the glitch reports that involve your clients each day.”
I was impressed. “Wow. How interesting. I’ve never heard that before.”
“It’s a standard procedure for Four Seasons Resorts. It happens all around the world.”
I had Kathy walk me through the specifics of the Four Season’s Glitch Report. Here’s how it works.
Glitches are reviewed at each shift change. Every department in the property is represented and receives a detailed print out of any glitches that may have occurred and what has been done to resolve it. The shift leader reviews the glitches so that each department can understand the situation and respond appropriately.
It may have been something as simple as missing turn down service for a guest. Everyone listens to the department head about what went wrong, what they did to fix it and how they can correct it for the future.
The recap does two very important things:
First, It maintains ownership. This is a team. Everyone is responsible for the glitch and no one is allowed to act like they don’t know about it.
Second, It ensures the incident doesn’t fall between the cracks. Time has a tendency to be the number one enemy of effective communication. The more time that passes, the less important the incident becomes. The Glitch Report creates a system for communicating immediately and with urgency.
Step two of The Glitch Report is to make sure an apology has happened. Not just once, but from multiple team members.
I remember a recent stay to a Four Seasons where there were some complications with my reservation. I received an apology from the Front Desk Receptionist as well as the the Shift Manager while I was checking in. I also got a call the next morning form the Hotel Manager expressing his apology. To top it off, later that night when I tried to pay for my drink at the bar, they let me know it had been taken care of by the Hotel Manager.
Four apologies over one incident.
Apologizing keeps the Four Seasons intimately connected with their real success: people. It may seem like an old-fashion value, but it ensures they don’t loose sight of what it means to be human: empathy.
3. MAKE IT RIGHT
Finally, they make it right. Team members are empowered to go out of their way to do something for the guest that represents the sincerity of their apology. It’s one thing to say you’re sorry. It’s another thing to show it.
It can be as simple as flowers delivered to their room or a small fruit basket with bottled water. It can also be an appropriate adjustment or consideration on their bill.
Isidore Sharp, the founder of Four Seasons, says in his book, Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy,
“What’s important with the glitch is not the error — it’s the recovery. Guests remember how they were treated and the outcomes, and we always strive to ensure the outcomes are positive.”
At the end of the stay, Four Seasons want to make sure guests leave with a positive experience.
Do you have a Glitch Report for your practice? Do you regularly review incidents where patients didn’t have their expectations met? The Glitch Report is a great exercise to walk through with your team and an even better concept to implement into your morning meetings.