FourSeasons: The Story Of A Business Philosophy.
Fourseasons is an executive hotel chain founded by the chairman and C.E.OIsadore Sharp. In his book, Four Seasons: The Story of a businessphilosophy, Sharp paints a clear picture of how he started thecompany as a trial an error, having no background in the hotelindustry, the company eventually grew to a renowned and respectedworld class hotel chain. His idea was inspired by the need for a deepcommitment to quality service and customer satisfaction.
Forinstance, the company’s top management and leadership have embracedthe modern hotel management practices which are a different scenariofrom the traditional ways. Similarly, each morning, a meeting whereevery department is represented dives into reviewing the specialneeds, if any, of all the guests staying at the hotel. The Glitchreport, a recap of yesterday’s mistakes is reviewed each morning toensure all is set right, including an apology and later granting theguest a special request.
Thesuccess of the company has been made possible through a strategycomprising of four pillars, namely quality, service, culture andbrand. Sharp’s management has created a brand name that deliverstop quality and service through the creation of a culture within thecompany. Team effort is what sets Four Seasons apart from the rest,it forms the cornerstone the company’s service oriented philosophy(Avil 2011).
Accordingto Sharp, decisions are made based on a clear understanding of whatis required to be done, a strong belief in their abilities and asound financial plan which is the key to the success of the company.The company has generated enough trust in the industry, making thebrand an employer of choice. Sharp’s vision made him realize thatcustomers were willing to pay extra for an experience “home awayfrom home” only possible when all the staff are fully engaged.
Comparatively,according to Sharp, the company does not hire for experience, butrather the attitude of the employee. Company promotions are made fromwithin and much attention is given to employee affairs as of those ofthe guest. Performance is set high while responsibility and selfdiscipline are encouraged among the employees.
Employees,according to Sharp, are the front line of any business and should betreated with respect and not like slaves of managers to command. Hehas even gone further to facilitate a McDonalds training class forthe top key staff, giving the employees the authority and feeling ofownership of the company.
Onthe other hand, the company strictly adheres to the Golden rule,where everyone treats the other as they would want to be treated. Thebook is mostly centered on this rule refusing to lower the companyvalues just to make a profit. Employees and their relation, accordingto Sharp are more important than profits. This motivates the staff toperform tasks with a mutual respect and an attitude of kindness. Theemployees are given freedom to make decisions that take care of theneeds of the customers.
Significantly,every employee is not only in charge, but also a part of the customerservice department. Employees work together to facilitate thedelivery of quality and service to the guest 24 hours a day. All theemployees are fully engaged to the daily operations of the companystarting from the manager and supervisors, bellmen, housekeepers andbellmen. Mr. Sharp past experience of being born from immigrantparents has greatly affected the relations at the company to thisday, with every hotel that is opened the same culture of bestpractice and customer delivery always applies.
Overthe years, Four Seasons has been a benchmark in the industry, havingintroduced a wide range of amenities ranging from fitness centers,non-smoking floors, hairdryers, shampoo, bathrobes and many more.Customers enjoy a wide variety of quality and service, for instance,the company offers a 24 hour room service (Roder 2008). The value ofthe Golden rule also applies to their guest. In other words, theemployees treat the guest as they themselves would want to betreated.
IsadoreSharp has detoured from the normal traditional view of hotels,instead of offering customers a big hotel with too many rooms heenvisioned a medium size hotel with all the required amenities andalso big enough to offer personal service and satisfaction. The guestwill be willing to pay slightly more to enjoy a higher standard ofservice offered.
Qualityservice for the company is a luxury that replaces the one left athome and the office. Guest have the leverage of enjoying specialservices including a hypo-allergic pillow, special skin cream or evenfood cooked free from gluten. The company has at its disposal thebest top notch chefs to ensure guest enjoy every meal.
Alternatively,Four Seasons offers customers a wide range of hotels to choose from,having branches in more than thirty countries, guest is assured ofexcellent quality service anywhere. Travelers from all over the worldcan enjoy the feeling of home away from home, which offers anunforgettable feeling of utmost trust and satisfaction.
Ultimatelyfor Four Seasons, people come before profits and hence the companyaims to provide the best to its customers. Isader Sharp after theloss of his son to cancer decided to get involved in the cancerawareness to help find a cure to cancer patients through organizing amarathon every year to help spread the message.
Thisbook certainly gives insights on best practices of managing acompany, as a manger I don’t need to make a decision in a vacuumplus also how my judgments will affect on others. An important thingalso to note is that opportunities are often disguised as challengesand setbacks. Delivery of deep, true value to customers will lead tosuccess of any business, flexibility, quick decision making and smallimprovements will eventually lead to major positive changes inbusiness.
Servicemanagement is a customer approach, providing and delivering value andgood customer relations. It’s a system that reinforces activities,each with its own strength into one whole in the process producing anew way to succeed in business. It focuses on the service provided tothe customer and ensures the best of the best quality service.
Servicemanagement typically aims to maximize service supply chain bybreaking its complexities. Its purpose is to integrate products andservices by reducing high cost and keeping the inventory levelsrelatively lower. In other words, observing higher standards,maintaining best practices and the knowledge that everything is aservice which should facilitate expected outcome. Service managementworks hand in hand with the business goals and objectives.
Roder.L.M.(2008) Creatingthe Four Seasons difference. Business week:Innovation and design.
Avil.B. (2011).Review: FourSeasons: The story of a business philosophyby Isadore Sharp. Founder of Ambeck enterprise and the InvisibleMentor.