Customer Driven Learning at the Radisson

Topics: Management, Carlson Companies, Radisson Hotels Pages: 5 (1485 words) Published: September 7, 2009
 Customer-Driven Learning at Radisson Hotels Worldwide

Radisson Hotels began in the early 1900s in Minneapolis by incorporating a partnership with the dry-good store which was next door to the hotel. For many years this wise entrepreneurial move summoned millions of people to the downtown Minneapolis area, greatly boosting the economy in this area (Hotel Online, 1998). By 1997, the “growth at any cost” strategy of Radisson was diminishing their quality and blurring the focus of customer satisfaction to align with hotel owners. Radisson’s president, Brian Stage and executive vice president, Maureen O’Hanlon realized the detrimental effects this strategy had, not only on their hotel quality but on their brand image as well and decided to take several initiatives in 1997 and 1998 (Schroeder, 2008). These initiatives were to be more customer-focused and earn Radisson Hotels Worldwide the reputation of a “customer-driven learning organization.” The model was to change from “growth at any cost” to “champion of the guests.” To make this change, the 100% guest satisfaction guarantee program was devised. It was the responsibility of Sue Geurs, recently appointed Director of this program, to improve Radisson’s overall service quality through analysis of all the factors that affected operations, e.g. financial justification, marketing with technology. To support this new strategy, a fully integrated guest information system was developed that included the three “pillars” of information technology as described by Schroeder (2008); the Curtis-C system worldwide distribution (reservation) system, the customer database (Customer-KARE Systems), and the Harmony property management system. In 2007 Radisson had 400 hotel locations in 63 countries where they had implemented several initiatives with the goal of obtaining and retaining satisfied customers. Although this proved to be a success, O’Hanlon and Stage questioned if there were other avenues that they should be pursuing to improve and accelerate their “customer-driven learning” efforts (Schroeder, 2008). A standardized process of quality planning, control, and improvement must be the norm, especially considering the various hotel locations of Radisson. They might have to revamp processes or programs to account for differing cultures. Many programs for measuring guest and employee satisfaction were implemented, studies found a strong link between employee satisfaction and guest satisfaction, just as with the Ritz Carlton and their Gold Standards. The Gold Standards has six topics; the credo, the motto, the three steps of service, service values, the 6th diamond, and the employee promise (Ritz-Carlton, 2008). The Radisson should focus on these key principles to be the “champion of the guests”, while finding a way to differentiate themselves from other luxury hotels. Radisson should implement their service guarantee in writing, possibly including it with their mission statement, as a rule in the employee handbook or as part of their motto for guests to be aware of their desire to satisfy. It is imperative for employees to comprehend the value of service and how it relates to the customer. The employee understanding of these standards has been proven to directly correlate with guest satisfaction (Schroeder, 2008). If the principles or expected standards are a part of the employee handbook, they will then function as a guideline for the employees. This will help to avoid ambiguity and misunderstandings, which could lead to dissatisfaction. Employee empowerment plays an important part in customer satisfaction; employers should enforce and support empowered actions. It has been shown in various studies that a happy employee will be more apt to provide excellent customer service than a disgruntled one. To achieve this, a well-structured training program should be in place for employees to understand the importance of the vision of Radisson Hotels...
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