Managing with class and patience



In a world of globalising trends, where it sometimes seems that everything tends to be the same, we struggle to find something different, the one thing special that can make our day.

There are times when expectations aren’t met, times when they are and times when they are exceeded. The Mia Resort sits in the last category.

When arriving at the Mia Resort NhaTrang, it seems as if everyone would be expecting you: there’s a sense of genuineness, of interest, a sense of curiosity, which makes it all so natural, as when returning home after spending a long time abroad.

The service is smooth from the beginning, up to the standards expected from a 5 stars hotel:the client is led to the bar, invited to sit down, offered a delicious sugar cane drink and a small cake while the check in procedures take place.

The management is easily reachable, and there are 2 guest relations managers, a tangible sign for the guests that whatever their concern, all through their stay, they know they can share that and someone will take care of it.

Cindy Duncan, from South Africa, is one of them: she has an elegant,tranquil flair, she is professional but not distant; she’s got a great sense of humour, she’s relaxed, but one can sense she is constantly ready to attain to the clients’ needs.

It seems to be the general attitude among the staff at Mia. Said Cindy: “When we started, the decision was made to train our staff from scratch in house. We selected the personnel based on their personality. Many didn’t have working experience or at least not in hospitality. The approach was daring, but it actually turned out to be our asset. The staff learned the work here, their style became our in-house style.”

We didn’t want ‘robots’, as it sometimes is the case in some hotels or resorts: we try to train everyone in a way that they can always bring out a little bit of themselves.”Two years since Mia opened in September 2011, the initial staff is responsible for training the new staff.

 Of course, there are challenges: “I had worked in the hospitality business in South Africa and it is difficult sometimes to deal with the cultural differences here on a daily basis; I was looking at the job from a Western perspective, expecting the same approach to work as back home, but obviously things are different in Asia”, Cindy shared.

 “For example, how people deal with stress is different: we get nervous, angry or silent. Many Vietnamese start laughing, which obviously in this business is a problem. If a client is complaining about the food or the drinks or something related to the service, it is awkward to get a laugh in return. As clients, we want to be taken seriously when we complain.”

 “When training on how to deal with client’s complaints and on how to respond, depending on the issue at hand, we teach some short sentences in English that the staff has to memorize, so that they can use them and already give some peace of mind to the guest. Sentences such as: ‘we’ll take care of the matter’ or ‘we apologize, please allow me to make up for it’ give the guest the feeling that their complaints are taken into consideration.”

 “What really matters is how you teach the job: you cannot control people, you have to train them, guide them, instruct by giving the example, allow them to make mistakes so that they can learn, teach what it means to take pride of a job well done and imparting a sense of responsibility.

 During our stay, after dinner, one of the waitresses, a girl from NhaTrang, To Kim Khanh Nguyen, shared about the job, on how much she had learned at Mia.

 What was really striking was the fact that she then stayed on, talking about the city of NhaTrang, what there is to see and to do, she recommended a restaurant for the next day, she laughed, asked questions and was interested in hearing about us. It was the first time it happened to us in Vietnam that a waiter would chat with such a natural attitude, as it commonly happens in Europe.

Mia is personal; the staff is natural. They would give the guests a hug, or tell them I love you just because that’s what they feel”, Cindy said.

 Consistency in what is said and what is done works its magic at Mia: from gardeners, to waiters, to reception, to management, to the personnel in the spa, all staff shares the same attitude: nobody is insisting in selling spa services, tours or activities, but they are prepared to help should the guest require that.

The people working at Mia are more like fairies, materialising when you need them but otherwise just letting the guests enjoy their holiday.Patience and class are the key words here, undeniably.

Cindy Duncan