Checking into a hotel, I look around the lobby area. I notice there are neat bonsai trees on the counter top, a few pots around the region, plush sofa sets. Minimalistic, modern and clean. Not many people mulling around, all looks good. We walk up to the room and the corridor is clean, the room is impeccably maintained, well aired, the A/C, TV work and importantly, the bathroom is neat, dry and clean. We walk down to the restaurant and once again, the ambience is neat and well kept. It all looks very impressive.
The next morning, the story continues – the cleanliness is maintained. I notice janitors and cleaning staff only once in three days of my stay at the hotel. I have moved in and out of the room fairly frequently and uniformly, there is a sense of cleanliness right through. The cutlery at the restaurant is always clean, the plants always look impeccable, the newspapers in the paper stand are always neatly arranged. In a well run organization, discipline is essential for effectiveness. In the hotel, cleanliness is ubiquitous but the staff involved, invisible. The discipline of the hotel staff in maintaining a clean environment can not be undermined. They are invisible to customers, but they are critical to the fabric of customer service.
Often, with services that we are privy to, the service staff is invisible. We do not necessarily notice the sweepers on the roads, at work at odd hours in the morning, ensuring that the city roads are clean every single day. Nor do we pay particular attention to the milkman who comes in every morning, delivering milk to all residents of the complex. We do notice when the service is absent, though. Yes, of course, a single day when the milk is not supplied or when the surroundings are not cleaned is noticed immediately. The work that is put in by the industrious folk delivering the services is, unfortunately, not always recognised.
Regardless of recognition, the truly selfless and self motivated worker will continue to deliver high quality services, knowing full well that they are critical to the fabric of the organization. At various stages in life, we are all going to be involved in work that is not going to attract headlines. There will be occasions when the work that we do will be over looked, no one will really give it a second thought after the work has been completed. At those times, it would serve us well to remember the humble sweeper, the janitor, the ball bearings in the fan – the key components that enable others to succeed. It is that invisible service that I salute!