Giving a lecture in a new Shunyi hotel, Beijing, on 5* customer service.
As with most opportunities and experiences in China, there is an element of just run-with-it and smile and this was pretty much the job specification for my job, as a 22 year old customer services assistant/translator/English teacher/researcher/Olympic services assistant/dinner guest/hotel
I was called at 8am and told to be ready in half an hour’s time for a small and short training session with some hotel employees I had been training over the last couple of weeks. Dutifully, I was ready, picked up and, of course, informed that we would jus make a quick stop at a new 5* hotel en route. That’s right, just run-with-it. The hotel was impressive and architecturally beautiful, as were all the hotels in Shunyi (home of the Olympic watersports) being built at record speed in preparation for the
Beijing Olympic Games. By 9am, I was seated in a restaurant and instructed I was to have ‘lunch’ and offer an honest assessment of the food and service. I asked for the wine list and was promptly told they had no plans to sell wine at their hotel. By the time I had explained a few times the necessity to have wine as an option my ‘spaghetti bolognese’ arrived, accompanied by large smiles from all hotel employees who kindly came over keep me company and stare whilst I ‘enjoyed’ my microwaved spag bol. The girl whose job it was to give me a fork clearly could not contain her
excitement. Nor could I, and the sad fact was this kind of impromptu meal was no longer a surprise to me.
Having given my assessment of the food and service, which I am pretty sure got ignored, we set off to another room in the hotel where I was handed a microphone and told that they would be back in one hour and thank you very much for coming to give a lecture on 5* customer service to the 100+ hotel
I spent the hour answering questions about what the best colour is for napkins and how to construct a sign insisting guests wear a swimming hat whilst they relax by the pool, but I would give anything for the audience’s thoughts as I walked in to the room wearing cut-off denim shorts and a pink t-shirt emblazoned with a sparkly ice-cream. Thank goodness the Olympics were considered a success!