It’s all in how the details fit together

What does folding napkins have to do with maintenance engineering? Though it was undoubtedly the first time he had ever folded a napkin in the shape of a lily pad, Steve Fife was game to find out.

Now heir to the title “Lily,” he and the rest of us spent two days with Judy King from QMS Results, learning how to improve each individual guest experience at the Inn by examining what goes into every step along the way. From the greeting when you walk through the door, to how the bellman introduces you to your room to – yes – how the napkins are folded in a complete place-setting for a romantic dinner in 88, every detail takes many steps if we’re going to get it exactly right. And if you don’t see those steps – the process that moves a napkin from laundry to place, for example – that’s because we didn’t leave any out along the way.

The technical term for what we learned, process management, is actually an engineering analysis that looks a lot like the pipes and vents Steve knows really well. When the hospitality industry adopted Total Quality Management business practices to improve guest satisfaction, hotel managers started mapping the steps it took to match experiences and objects (like napkins) that guests encountered at the “front of the house” with the  work that happened in the “back of the house.” We all quickly realized that if the process was not in synch – if the laundry was not able to provide fresh linens in time to set 88 for dinner the guest was going to see an unfinished job and perceive sloppy customer service.

All we can say is “wow!” When you focus closely on how you do things, analyze each action to see if there’s a better way to do it, develop an ideal process and execute that process with practice so it becomes familiar, you improve the outcome. In other words, it really is all in the details – and making sure they fit together seamlessly to produce the magical guest experience that is Spruce Point Inn!