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Greet NZ makes a positive impact on training


Greet NZ makes a positive impact on hospitality training


News release issued on behalf of the Hospitality Standards Institute


A national training programme aimed at upskilling New Zealand's hospitality staff and improving their customer service techniques has far exceeded the expectations of its founders since it was launched into the workplace.

Greet NZ, the customer service training programme designed and implemented by the Hospitality Standards Institute, was launched at the beginning of the year. In the eight months to the end of August, some 570 hospitality personnel have attended Greet NZ courses throughout the country.

Greet NZ courses are designed for front-line staff and their employers wanting to extend or refresh their customer-service skills to higher levels. Among the range of customer service topics covered in the Greet NZ programme are:
* Communication skills - including customer empathy, listening, and psychology.
* Up-selling.
* Ensuring consistency in the delivery of service standards.
* Personality development.
* Product knowledge.

Greet NZ was initially rolled out in Auckland and Wellington before quickly moving on to regional New Zealand cities and towns from Northland to the bottom of the South Island.

General manager of the Dux De Lux pub in Christchurch, Ross Herrick, found the Greet NZ course he attended to be highly beneficial. Ross has now adopted many of the tips and training scenarios he acquired, and is in turn passing on the new-found knowledge and enthusiasm to his staff.

“The course delivered a lot of practical scenarios rather than just straight theory. The facilitator obviously came from a hospitality background so could speak with authority about what he was teaching. With hindsight, and implementing what I learnt in the course, I’ve found that what he said actually works in the real workplace environment,” explained Ross.

“Some of the material covered during the course was looking - from a different perspective - at how we perform tasks on the restaurant floor. Other material got me thinking ‘I’d forgotten that I actually know how to do that’…so there was a lot of confidence building,” explained Ross.

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“I’ve been in the hospitality business 20 years and I’ve never been on a training course as valuable as this. At the end of the day… it was a lot of fun – and that’s really important.”

Landmark Auckland hospitality restaurant and bar Iguacu sent 14 of its front of house staff on a private Greet NZ course set up specifically for the establishment. Iguacu owner Julie-Ann Bell said the one day programme gave staff a valuable insight on how vastly different individual personalities combine to make an effective restaurant service team.

“For example, there’s the ‘green’ personality which is very analytical and business-like, compared to the ‘red’ personality which is very flamboyant. Through Greet NZ, our staff learnt there is a valued place for both types of personality on the floor – and that they both need to not only recognise that among their colleagues, but understand how to build relationships,” Julie-Ann Bell explained.

“Our staff also learnt how to read, and then relate to, the different customer types and improve on how they interact with customers. The Greet NZ course was an excellent adjunct to Iguagcu’s ongoing customer service improvement programme.”

Staff from the boutique luxury resort Heritage Hotel and Spa Du Vin just south of Auckland, also attended a private Greet NZ course. Hotel general manager Shaun Corlett said all 30 of her staff found the programme content highly beneficial, and she is now looking at making Greet NZ a bi-annual feature in the staff induction and training calendar.

“The facilitator, Adam Cunningham, was extremely passionate about hospitality and this came through in how he talked to course attendees. He explained issues ‘from the floor’ - such as accepting responsibility and taking ownership of problems - in a way where front of house staff could relate to what he was saying,” Ms Corlett said.

“I’ve noticed a difference in how the staff now respond to each other. They have an appreciation that they are all different, but different in a positive way.

“The challenge for HSI now will be to keep the momentum created from these initial courses and expanding it in the future. I’d like to see the course expanded and covering selected topics in-depth. That’s something we’ll be discussing with HSI as we look to have Adam come back to the hotel hopefully early next year.”

Adapting Greet NZ courses for specific hospitality operations is also a requirement for South Island chain Robbie’s Bar and Bistro which is approaching HSI to develop content tailored for its 12 counter-order style operations.

Robbie’s personnel attended Greet NZ programmes this year and, recognising the value of training, are currently drawing up categories they would like to see covered in their next private course.

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Hospitality Standards Institute chief executive Steve Hanrahan said uptake of the Greet NZ initiative had far surpassed the organisation’s initial expectations for the programme.

“Our on-going consultations with hospitality operators throughout New Zealand indicated there was a strong demand for a course such as Greet NZ. HSI’s response was to develop then launch Greet NZ. However, we have been overwhelmed with the amount of positive responses from industry since bringing the programme to the marketplace,” Mr Hanrahan said.
"A growing number of employers are now realising that one of the best methods of retaining staff in a tight labour market is to invest in their personal training and career development. Greet NZ has delivered a cost-effective and time-efficient pathway for employers to begin upskilling their staff through an external course.

"One of the key factors behind the success of Greet NZ has been the flexibility in formatting the one-day programme so that employers have been able to work the course around staff rostering.”

Mr Hanrahan said that another important element in the Greet NZ success story has been the recognition by course facilitators that for New Zealand, there was no single 'best practice' service style.

“What may be service delivery policy and procedures for a five star hotel in Auckland will be totally different for a small town café or a country pub. While the theme of delivering professional service runs through all training, New Zealand service staff have different personalities and working environments, all of which require different approaches to utilise to their best potential,” he said.

HSI’s public Greet NZ courses have been open to anyone from the wider hospitality industry, while private Greet NZ courses have been delivered to specific company’s or sites as part of larger chain organisations – such as the James Cook Hotel in Wellington, and the Peppers boutique hotel group.

The Hospitality Standards Institute is New Zealand's hospitality industry-led training organisation (ITO). HSI's role is to develop and monitor unit-based training standards and qualifications for hospitality professionals. HSI works with all sizes of business, as well as training providers and schools, to understand what skills are needed for New Zealand's hospitality industry - currently and into the future.

Ends

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