P1000216It can be a challenge to balance customer service and directing behavior. In student housing, this rings especially true. A primary goal in student housing is to create a positive environment conducive to personal growth, social connections and academic success. In order to make this happen, policies and standards must be established and maintained in order to create a positive environment. This is where the challenge lies. How is a balance struck between maintaining community standards for the sake of all, and addressing behavior that is counter to the big picture goal?

I was reminded of this balance last weekend, when I checked into the Westin Resort in Snowmass, CO. I noticed some unusual signage saying something about Jumpsuits on the elevators as I went to my room, but didn’t pay much attention as I was getting ready to check in for my 2nd “Tough Mudder” event. This is an 11+ mile event with a lot of obstacles and perhaps most importantly for this post, a ton of MUD.

P1000433Several hours later, I managed to hobble back to the hotel after having survived my trek. I saw a table set up by the hotel entrance, with a friendly, outgoing employee who was flanked by stacks of what I soon found out were jumpsuits and booties. With a big smile, she pointed at one of the signs I had seen earlier and said “want a free jumpsuit?”

Despite being exhausted and craving a hot shower, her tone and a closer look at the sign, which featured Elvis, Ghostbusters and others wearing jumpsuits, I smiled and welcomed her assistance donning my white suit. I then read the instructions on the flyer, and realized that the Westin Snowmass met a unique challenge with creativity and a customer-centric approach. They provided instructions for putting on the jumpsuit, referenced the extra bag located in the room, described the “well-deserved Heavenly hot shower” in their “Heavenly bathroom,” and offered an incentive by giving a chance to win Starwood Resort points by participating.

I can imagine the meeting when the group event coordinator informed the hotel they would have thousands of guests covered in mud for an entire weekend. The Westin chose to be proactive, fun and engaging, which protected their pristine white linens and furniture, their carpeting, and saved their cleaning crews countless hours. Not only that, they did it in a FUN way.

P1000441Here are 5 tips for getting messy customers to wear white jumpsuits:

  1. Anticipate the challenge: The Westin knew not only about the mud, but about the fact I only wanted a hot shower afterwards.
  2. Think outside of the box. The expense of purchasing these jumpsuits and booties dwarfed the potential damages the facility would incur and were minor in comparison to a full resort during the off-season.
  3. Create a fun message. The flyer created a positive spin on what could have otherwise been perceived as an authoritarian demand.
  4. Communicate with enthusiasm. They chose an employee positioned strategically who would represent this approach well and make people feel good about their approach.

Cool people wear jumpsuits!

Below are some fun examples I have found around the web of signs addressing quiet hours. How else have you seen this type of customer service approach demonstrated?

quiet hoursfoxheygirl

See more fun quiet hours signs on our “signs and flyers” Board on Pinterest



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