Hotel Duty Management is one of the hardest customer service jobs there is and happened to be the first job I ever had in Hotels; it was probably the most difficult job I have ever had since (read on or watch the video).
You are often not given special training to do the job and many different types of people have held it, usually with little to zero experience. The majority of people I have worked with in Hospitality have held the position at some point through-out their careers.
I did it for three years in the Nineties, after College graduation and into the years when I truly learnt the most from within Hotels. You may not think that it is a very special customer service job, but it is.
Think about it: every day a Duty Manager deals with the Hotel’s core audience – a cross section of the most challenging types of people from a customer service perspective.
Almost every person who visits the Duty Manager is either angry, dis-satisfied, sick, their child is sick, they’re elderly or they’re addicted. They’re generally miserable and they want to be out of their experience with you as soon as possible.
What-ever is wrong, the individuals that you see, come to see you for a chance of relief, sometimes they would just shake their heads and give up. Sometimes they simply would not. They expect you to be able to wave some kind of magical wand and fix their problem for them.
I have turned away countless mums with tears in their eyes. I have come to recognise the heavy drinkers and the pill poppers and be on alert when they move within my comfort zone.
I will remember clearly being told by my Hotel Manager to start wearing a clip on tie for my own safety and how this made me feel during the first few shifts I was in charge of….
I was like a nurse, helping those in pain find a cure for whatever ailed them – whether it was a cold, the flu, constipation, or a backache. I learned to stock pills, nappies and all kinds of other products.
I learned to just be friendly when someone approaches. Can you help with my prescription? Do you have a Nappy? Can you look after my Mum?
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, sir. That’s illegal,” I warned.
People wouldn’t flinch to tell me about their sleepless nights. It came second nature to me to tell them what worked best. I would help folk, desperately trying to read the small print and find their car keys.
Men who could no longer use their walking sticks. Batteries that needed replacing. Lost toys and lipstick smeared all over the plastic displays. Too little time. Too little money. Lost cards. Lost wallet. A 2-litre soda thrown at my head. Alarms went off. Bathroom cleaning. Lost children. Embarrassed parents.
And that was just one hour on one shift …..
I would stand on my feet for 13 hours on those shifts, with one 10 minute break to grab a sandwich and a cup of coffee.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the job. I made close relationships there that I still hold today. We faced this battle together, we had so much fun.
I think the Duty Management Shifts prepared me for the rest of my career…..