Blog: Rebuilding Trust with our Customers and Colleagues

By KRaynes

Blog: Rebuilding Trust with our Customers & Colleagues

Zoom Event Hosted by Sally Prescott, ZFL Ltd and Eugenio Pirri, Dorchester Collection  

Sally Prescott, ZFL ltd

Trust is often built over time and it is reassuring when people trust you, but consider what is it you do to make people trust you? How are you and your business perceived in light of Covid what are the lessons you have learnt. First impressions are so important, you want to recreate that first impression, whilst adhering to legislation when you meet and greet your guests and your team as they return to work. Think about who do you want to build trusting relationships with? Suppliers, contractors, colleagues, customers all of these will matter so you need to be very self-aware of what they are thinking, feeling and can see.

TRUST: take a look at yourself first, are you trustworthy? Be open, honest and clear about what you expect from your team and support them. Character (how we behave) and competence (when you do what you say you will do) support building trust. Make sure your culture is aligned to your values so you maintain your reputation as an organisation that can be trusted (by customers and colleagues alike).

BEHAVIOUR: what are you noticing in terms of how people are behaving? What is behind the behaviour of customers and colleagues, there may be a lot of complexity going on due to anxiousness, worry, lack of confidence etc. Think about how you might help support and reassure them, the website is a good source of information to help you with coming up with some solutions to deal with behaviour such as anxiety, (lots of videos, tips and workbooks), so it is worth visiting their site.

LEADERS: ensure you are listening to the team, talk through how they are feeling and any concerns they may. Consider how you might deal with changes in behaviour such as being irritable, will you connect with them to listen to what might be the cause of this. Avoid complacency and relaxing the rules and build a track record of delivering results whilst minimising a rise in cases of Covid where possible. Consider your customers and colleagues; how you can instil calmness and hospitality and how you will build confidence in the team in handling ‘tricky’ customers, especially if alcohol is involved and they forget the rules. There is a good reference source; Franklin Covey 13 behaviours of great leaders, great teams and great results, worth reading.

TIPS: What are you noticing in terms of where you can offer that support

  1. Assess your own (and the business reputation) level of trustworthiness
  2. Seek help and support focus on one area you can build on
  3. Assess your teams level of trustworthiness


Eugenio Pirri, Dorchester Collection Case Study

Some great examples of what the Dorchester Collection have been doing to embed trust not only with their people but also their guests.

Foundation of Trust is based around your core values and bringing them to life, this is what people rely on as the basis for decision making. For the Dorchester the most important thing during lockdown was communication and how you handle this without information overload. The Dorchester Collection really tried to personalise the comms and taking into consideration people’s personal situation. They set up a wide range of the usual communication channels and even arranged a daily coffee chat with the GM, opened to any employee at 10am with no agenda, really informal and this went down well.

legends@home: is their weekly comms to stay in contact with people, show they are there for them, created to share information and updates that was either emailed or on the intranet site for everyone to access. Focused on news and information, mental health, exercise, healthy eating and this grew as a powerful tool that employees became part of the creation of it by constantly adding news and tips to the forum.

Community support: this was a reach out to their local communities and the wider locations they operated in, or where staff lived and it included; donations from ee’s pay checks, support for local schools and community hubs, lining to healthcare and food offerings to support those in the community.

New normal Protocols: Hygiene standards have always been incredibly high but they wanted to add in that extra reassurance for employees and guests. This was an employee lead communication, fully supported (with measures and checklists), where they were thinking about the emotional needs of their guests and what they might be thinking (about cleanliness standards), so being driven by employees made sense.

All of this helped to re-imagine the guest experience:  (moved some of the gym equipment into larger suites or outdoor areas for cardio for example) this helps to meet guest expectation. Think about how you use outdoor space for small private functions/lunches etc to balance guest needs and service levels.

Keeping in Touch: was set up where employees became pen pals for some guests (who might be feeling lonely. Isolating or missing their stay in the hotel) using a simple postcard on instagram for guests to post their address. Many of the guests wrote back to the employees and  felt really supported by the interaction between employees,  so many letters have gone back and forth and guests are now booking in just to meet their pen pal.

Re-engage: Employees have been out of the business for several months so welcoming them back and reminding them what you stand for (vison and values) is key. Focus on how has it been for them and how they are feeling to address their emotional state at the start so they can connect with the guests. The Dorchester Collection have added in a medic in each hotel for staff and guests for reassurance and to answer any questions.

All of these measures can be adopted in many ways to help you build trust and rebuild your business.

HR in Hospitality event Blog: Esther O’Halloran, Chair HR in Hospitality, 23 July 2020