A ray of customer service sunshine in Papua New Guinea

 

When I build my first luxury hotel, the first person I’m going to hire is Miria, from the Lamana Hotel in Papua New Guinea.

I’m just heading home from 11 days in PNG.  For those who don’t know the country, it is an emerging nation which boasts perhaps the most diverse culture on the planet.  This island claims to have over 800 indigenous languages spoken.  The cool part is that they all seem to get along.

The people of PNG are friendly,warm, and intensely proud of their country.  I’ve been working with the country’s telecom, who has identified customer service as a core driver for their business into the future.  I couldn’t agree more.

Overall, my observations is that customer service in PNG – as we typically define it – is pretty close to non-existant.  There is very little proactive effort, and the warmth that seems to be within the people here rarely shows on the outside with customers.  Any organization that is able to get their employees to simply smile and say hello to customers consistently will stand heads and tails above the rest.

The Lamana hotel is a bit of an exception.  It is one of the better hotels in Port Moresby – the capital of PNG. It also boasts the country’s #1 nightspot, a bar called ‘Pure Gold’ (I think).  It is pretty obvious that Lamana has spent a lot of effort training their people.  The simple walk down the hallway from your room to the lobby will give you a bevy of smiles and chorus of ‘hello’s’ from the housekeeping staff in sight.  The same is true with most of the conceirge staff.  (The front desk seems to be missing the smiling thing, but they at least manage to say hello).  All in all, pretty impressive.

But if Lamana is an exception, they have an exception within the exception.  His name is Miria, and he works as a concierge there.  You can see it in his eyes and his body language.  He’s not just greeting customers because it’s part of a training program – this is coming naturally for him.  I watched him with customers a dozen times, and saw his natural instinct to go above and beyond.  He is cheerful, pleasant, intelligent and highly motivated.  A great bright spot.

 

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