How To Ensure Your Laundry Staff Give the Best Service Possible

Published on June 22, 2018

Top quality hotel laundry service helps guests feel most at home! Click To TweetAs much as any other hotel department, your laundry has the power to make you or break you. No one wants to get into a questionably clean bed! Or have their favourite item of clothing mislaid or damaged.

Providing solid training, processes and a clear structure to your laundry department will help prevent those nightmare situations from ever rearing there ugly head. So where to begin?

Hierarchy of Responsibility

Defining a clear hierarchy of responsibility not only provides people with an oversight and someone to answer to, but also a clear path of career progression. Career progression is a great motivator, it gives staff something to aim for and a structure to work in. A well organised department is likely to be a happy department and happy staff, consistently giving their best; which in turn means they will provide the best service they know how to provide. Typically a laundry department will have a laundry manager, responsible for overseeing the laundry attendant(s) dependent on the size of the laundry.

“The best Service they know how to provide.”

“The best Service they know how to provide” is the key. If you are never shown what the best service you can provide is, how will you know? Think about this carefully. How many of your staff have ever been on the receiving end of the type of service you expect them to provide to guests? The likely hood is very few, so it is important to show them what you expect of them. What is the minimum you need them to do? With a good departmental culture and people taking pride in their own work you will likely see them grow. Encourage them to give their best and take their personal service to the next level.

Training

Training is essential, showing your staff the minimum you expect! Here are some ideas of the areas you might like to cover when training your laundry staff.

  1. Interaction with guests – A laundry attendant will be moving around the hotel collecting and delivering laundry, not only linens for housekeeping but also personal items from guests’ rooms. How do you expect them to behave? Should they greet guests in the corridor? Should they disappear into the background? What cultural customs should they be aware of? Addressing guests in the correct manner can be a complex situation and providing some guidance in this area will provide your guests with the best possible experience, how ever short the encounter with that member of staff.
  2. How they fit in – A brief understanding is useful of how the other departments work and their responsibilities. You want your staff to be able to help, what ever the situation, where ever they are in the hotel so that your guests get the best possible experience. It may not be their area but they should know to whom they need to speak in case a situation is brought to their attention by a guest. No guest wants to hear “it’s not my department, you’ll have to call someone else!” Listening to the guest’s situation, reassuring them with help and then speaking directly to the correct department to get the issue resolved is always ideal. But for that to work you need to give your staff the knowledge and confidence to act as the guests’ conduit to the correct person/department. In understanding the other departments they will also understand how their role in the laundry supports the departments, enabling them to understand the impact a backed up laundry has on everyone in the hotel.
  3. Safe use of equipment – Every member of the department should be trained in the safe use of every piece of equipment. This will enable the team to work efficiently and quickly together. An absence doesn’t impact on the department and anyone can quickly jump in to lend a hand where ever they are needed to help speed things up, ensuring a speedy and high level service to your guest.
  4. Sorting of laundry – Understanding clothing labeling and washing symbols is extremely important to avoid expensive and non rectifiable mistakes to guests clothing, or large volumes of expensive linens.
  5. Folding of laundry – The correct way to fold table linens, napkins, pillow cases, sheets, duvet covers, shirts, trousers, jumpers, t-shirts etc.
  6. Preparation for washing/cleaning – This should including stain identification and how to treat stains, along with checking pockets in clothing to avoid that dreaded paper tissue, going into the wash or forgotten valuables being damaged.
  7. Minor repairs – The correct way to carry out any minor repairs such as re attaching a button which has come loose or fallen off.
  8. Processes followed by the laundry – Generally items will be collected, sorted, washed or dry cleaned, dried, ironed or pressed, hung or folded and returned. But the precise processes followed will differ depending on the type of item. So identifying the different processes within the laundry are key like collection and return of laundry from other departments, including staff uniforms and requested laundry orders. Collection of guest laundry from rooms ensure that guest name, room number and laundry pieces are listed before leaving the room. This is important as laundry bags look the same and it is imperative the correct items are returned to the right room! You are a temporary custodian and getting this part wrong should be easily avoided. Count and verify all items collected against the completed paperwork signed by the guest, noting any damage or discrepancy.

Department Culture

  1. The department should be working together as a team and able to work under pressure without missing any details. Everyone should work with a real eye for detail and the guest should always be at the centre of their thoughts, providing a high level of service — accurate, punctual, professional and courteous. There is something magical about slipping into bed under beautifully pristine, ironed sheets or receiving a freshly laundered shirt.
  2. Working effectively with other departments. All team members should take responsibility to ensure any issues are quickly reported, so that they can be quickly rectified. A backed up laundry will impact the guests’ experience and the rest of the hotel will feel the knock on effects in various manners.
  3. Guests choose to stay at a Boutique Hotel for the high level of service provided and the attention to detail. Their expectations will be high to begin with, but by exceeding those expectations and providing the highest possible level of service where the guest is central and no details are overlooked, you will not only be guaranteeing yourself repeat business but also the liquid gold recommendation provided by word of mouth. Therefore it is key that every single member of your staff is trained, understands their own impact on the guest’s experience and works extremely hard to exceed the guest’s expectations.

Whether your laundry is just not quite hitting the mark or you are a brand new hotel, Polo & Tweed can help provide the training support you require. Our experienced trainers can visit your laundry and help pin point the issue areas and work with your staff to bring the service level to exceptional. Or for a fledgling hotel, we can train your whole department so that you hit the road running at full speed providing your guests with the best possible service from the start. Please do get in touch as we would love to help.

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