Starting this month, everyone from housekeeping to management in Affinia Hotels will be basing their interaction with guests based on body language. The new customer service includes five hotels in New York City and one each in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Employees were taught to mirror a guest's volume and rhythm of speech to put him at ease, They learned that if guests are constantly touching their faces, it's a likely sign they're anxious after a long day of meetings or travel.
John Moser, chief brand and marketing officer for Affinia, told USA Today: "They'll grab their chin or pull on their ear. Those are cues that maybe I should be doing something to get them to their room quick or make them feel comfortable."
"You can't always tell from the first sentence whether someone is in a good mood or bad mood. Measuring some of the things they're showing, with the way they're talking to you, can help our associates deliver a service that's more customized to them."
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Moser added: "So many companies, when they talk about service, they program it to how many rings till you answer the phone. That sounds very scripted. Let's give (staffers) some tools they can use to help identify what's the right way to address somebody at a particular moment."
Patti Wood, a body language expert who conducted the Affinia training, says she has never seen such instruction given to all hotel employees: "All of this training is so every single guest is treated as special."