Once in a Lifetime Experience Every Time - National Customer

Once in a Lifetime Experience Every Time - National Customer

Customer First www.NationalCSA.com Once in a Lifetime Experience Every Time 7th Hole, Pebble Beach Golf Links | Photo by Joann Dost PEBBLE BEACH C...

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Customer First


Once in a Lifetime Experience Every Time

7th Hole, Pebble Beach Golf Links | Photo by Joann Dost


Pebble Beach Company History

Pebble Beach Company was founded in 1919 by Samuel Finley Brown Morse. At the age of 29, Morse was hired to manage the Pacific Improvement Company, which had extensive real estate holdings on the Monterey Peninsula in California. In early 1916, Morse convinced the board to build Pebble Beach Golf Links by assuring them it would help boost interest in the development of the area. (He was right!) On February 22, 1919, the grand opening of Pebble Beach Golf Links and the Del Monte Lodge at Pebble Beach was held. To facilitate his vision, five days after the Pebble Beach Golf Links grand opening, Morse formed the Del Monte Properties Company, which included 18,000 acres of land on the Monterey Peninsula—beginning the fulfillment of another dream for Morse: preservation of precious land. On May 10, 1969, Samuel F. B.

Morse passed away, 10 years after ensuring that easements would preserve hundreds of acres of forest and coastline along the now world-famous and very popular 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. “Protect the land around us” started with Samuel F. B. Morse and remains a critical element of the Pebble Beach Company philosophy yet today. An example of just one of the elements of superior and diverse customer service exhibited by Pebble Beach Company. Another goal that Morse had was to bring the U.S. Open to Pebble Beach, and on August 27, 1969, that goal was accomplished. Morse’s vision remains the foundation of Pebble Beach Company each and every day and is a good reminder to all businesses of the importance of getting out of the box, taking appropriate risks, following through, realigning as needed, and then doing it all again over and over and over. These are the hallmarks of a growing and successful organization. Continued on following page PAGE 1

Customer First


Continued from previous page Pebble Beach Company was sold to Japanese business holders in 1990, but by the summer of 1999, it returned to American hands, where it remains today, under the ownership of Clint Eastwood, Richard Ferris, Arnold Palmer, Bill Perocchi and Peter Ueberroth. The plan is to never again sell Pebble Beach Company to another ownership group. The Inn at Spanish Bay | Photo by Joann Dost Today Pebble Beach Company has more than Pebble Beach Company assures that excellent customer service just adds to a phenomenal scenic view. 1,600 employees. They are known worldwide for their stunning oceanWhat Makes up Pebble Beach Company front locations, peerless quality and, most imporFive phenomenal, world-renowned golf courses: tantly, their outstanding service. Pebble Beach Golf Links (legendary golf since 1919). And, of course, 17-Mile Drive offers an unforgettable Spyglass Hill Golf Course journey in and of itself, where guests can truly appreci(one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour). ate the preservation outcomes from Samuel Morse’s The Links at Spanish Bay vision as they drive the scenic route through the Del (a true Scottish links course). Monte Forest showcasing the Northern California Del Monte Golf Course coastline, native wildlife and spectacular sites such (the oldest continually operating course west of as The Lone Cypress, Bird and Seal Rocks and the Mississippi). Pescadero Point. Peter Hay Golf Course Customer Service Philosophy (the only 9-hole course on the Monterey “To give every customer a personalized, memorable Peninsula). experience, exceeding expectations every time” is a topic at every management meeting across Pebble Three hotels that draw golfers and non-golfers alike Beach Company. Subsequent meetings with employfrom around the world: ees in a variety of venues drive home how that will The Lodge at Pebble Beach happen every day with every interaction. The Inn at Spanish Bay Casa Palmero While Pebble Beach Company properties may “sell themselves” by virtue of their name, that is only as Situated on 5,300 acres of coastal Monterey Peninsula reliable as the day-to-day service that each customer property between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey, receives, according to the General Manager of The Inn these properties proudly offer much more than luxuriat Spanish Bay, Rod Schinnerer. Schinnerer spent 33 ous lodging options. They also include beach, pool, years in various positions in the hospitality industry, tennis and fitness clubs; The Spa at Pebble Beach; an Continued on following page equestrian center; shopping; and conference facilities.


Customer First Continued from previous page including serving as the General Manager of several sites within large hotel systems around the country. He has always enjoyed the hotel business, and when he had the opportunity to join Pebble Beach Company as General Manager of The Inn at Spanish Bay, he “jumped at it.” A good part of the draw was the culture of customer service which starts “at home” with how employees are treated. He wanted to be part of an organization that believes that employees are its most valuable resource and acts accordingly every day. The Values of Pebble Beach Company speak to their commitment to providing a “once in a lifetime experience every time.” Their Values include Trust and Integrity, Enriched Employees, Open Communication and, of course, World Class Service. And, as further proof of the commitment of Pebble Beach Company to its employees and customers, Maximize Financial Performance is also a priority value!

www.NationalCSA.com While these Values sound wonderful, Schinnerer backs them up with numerous examples of how they play out every day and how they are supported and monitored by Leadership throughout the organization. It starts with hiring the right people for every position. Every finalist candidate for any position is interviewed by potential peers and leaders, all of whom must agree on who is being hired. The interview process deeply explores with candidates Pebble Beach Company Values, ensuring the candidate “fits” with them personally. Candidates are thoroughly educated on not only the Values, but also the Mission and Standards of Pebble Beach Company. Potential employees understand up front the expectations behind all of these statements—thus “hiring the right people for every position.” Between the exhaustive hiring process and subsequent training, as well as the Continued on following page

Roy’s at Pebble Beach Photo by Jason Restivo

Pebble Beach Company restaurants are proud to be very busy and yet provide the utmost of customer service with every interaction.


Customer First


The Lodge at Pebble Beach | Photo by Joann Dost

Golfing and world-class vistas are enhanced by Pebble Beach Company’s service excellence strategies.

Continued from previous page ongoing employee communication methods, the success rate for hiring the right people at Pebble Beach Company is nearly 90 percent! Once the right person is hired, he or she is supported, guided and monitored during a 90-day orientation period, while both “sides” assess the “fit” in the job and with the organization. Significant education is provided during orientation to assure that the newly hired employee understands the history of Pebble Beach Company and the importance of his or her role in achieving its Values, Mission and Standards. Technical skills training is, of course, key as well, with the right tools provided to do the exceptional job that is expected. But the greatest emphasis is on how employees are expected to treat one another as well as their external customers. Schinnerer agrees that employees will only treat their customers as well as they are treated, so consistently living Pebble Beach Company Values with employees assures that “once in a lifetime experience every time.”

“Walking the talk” for the Pebble Beach Company Leadership includes constantly creating meaningful recognition opportunities for employees. Leaders serve meals in the cafeteria at The Inn at Spanish Bay periodically in order to stay closer to employees. All cafeteria meals are free to all employees—wow! What a “recognition” strategy that draws Spanish Bay employees to dine in the cafeteria, which then allows enhanced opportunity for sincere relationship building between them and leadership. Pebble Beach Company believes that you have to “know your people—staff and customers—on a deep level. You must get to know them personally—what they like; about their family; what they do outside of work.” Schinnerer relates that one of his staff was at the recent Boston Marathon, and that he deliberately sought out that employee on his first day back at work to assure that he was all right, express concern about him and what he experienced, and truly show that he remembered and cared. Perfect example of “walking the talk.” Continued on following page PAGE 4

Customer First Continued from previous page Schinnerer also exemplifies sincere recognition and relationship building by hand delivering each of his 400 employees’ service anniversary cards to them. Pebble Beach Company has formal recognition programs as well, which include the “Employees of the Quarter” and “Employees of the Year” awards. Nominees are recommended by their peers or Leaders, with the ultimate award decisions based on how those individuals exemplify the organization’s Values, Mission and Standards. Depending on the outcome of these assessments, 2–3 employees are chosen for the “Employee of the Quarter” award, and those collective winners go forward as candidates for the “Employees of the Year” award, which brings with it a $5,000 cash gift!

Communication Strategies—Employees

Pebble Beach Company believes that there is a ripple effect from how employees are treated, to how they feel about their job and the organization, which in turn impacts the quality of external customer service. The Values, Mission and Standards play out every day with every interaction. Pebble Beach Company has instituted a series of communication strategies with employees throughout the system to support achieving those goals. Employees also annually review and sign a Code of Conduct that emphasizes how the Values, Mission and Standards of Pebble Beach Company will be displayed with every interaction. Included in these communication strategies are: “Our Standards,” which emphasize being a gracious host, solving problems, taking pride, being proactive and being professional—the expected behaviors behind the Values. “Daily huddles,” where Supervisors provide informational updates to employees within their direct reporting relationship. The Values, Mission and Standards are discussed, and associated implementation successes and barriers to consistent achievement are surfaced. Each Manager is responsible for holding these huddles, synthesizing information from them to address opportunities for

www.NationalCSA.com recognition or improvement, and elevating, as appropriate, to assess trends and corporate responses. “Chats” are held in departments at least annually by the General Manager, where more input from employees is sought on improvement opportunities, needed supports, appropriate recognitions, etc. One-on-one meetings are held at least annually between each employee and his or her Supervisor to find out how the job is going; discuss expectations met and those that can improve; ascertain needed supports, etc. An annual all-employee meeting with the CEO is held, where corporate finances and goals are reviewed, and recognitions are delivered, all in a fun and enjoyable setting. This 2–3 hour session provides the opportunity for every Pebble Beach Company employee to hear directly from the CEO and to pose questions or provide comments, again underscoring that every role within the organization is critical and every employee’s input is valued and sought. Throughout the year, employees are encouraged to interact with any member of the Executive Team with their questions and comments as well. Pebble Beach Company is proud to live the “open door” policy. Every 2–3 years all employees are surveyed regarding their workplace satisfaction. Each Manager is expected to drill down on the results and create and implement prioritized action plans to address opportunities for improvement. While the hospitality industry certainly is challenged by a recovering economy and the seasonality of certain lines of business (that can go from very, very busy to slow—all in a moment’s notice—depending on the weather, time of the year and other competing factors), Pebble Beach Company is proud that they Continued on following page PAGE 5

Customer First Continued from previous page

The Spa at Pebble Beach | Photo by Scott Campbell

Relaxing at Pebble Beach Company properties is made special person-by-person.

have retained a sizable employee population. While studies on hiring and retention suggest that employees join an organization based on a perceived good fit educationally, experientially, geographically, monetarily, etc., they tend to stay based on how they are treated. A great testament to employee satisfaction at Pebble Beach Company is their high retention rate.

Communication Strategies—External Customers

In order to constantly monitor the service they are providing, Pebble Beach Company ensures that every Lodge or Inn customer receives an online satisfaction survey immediately after their stay, which is conducted by an objective, independent firm. While participation is optional, the response rate is significant, and all input is strongly considered and appropriately used. Leadership reviews this customer input and addresses opportunities for improvement, including a personal call to any customer who is not satisfied

www.NationalCSA.com with any aspect of the service they received to assure resolution. Of course, the feedback also includes many compliments, which are then shared with employees, since their customer service is the reason for the compliments—yet another recognition strategy! If surveys reflect repeated comments on a potential improvement, those are quickly considered and often result in changes. For example, several customers requested that the evening lobby coffee service be extended. When dissatisfaction about the shortened coffee service was mentioned a few times in the customer surveys, Schinnerer reinstituted an expanded schedule and now receives acknowledgements from customers for that “perk.” “It costs relatively little in time and products, yet is very much appreciated by our guests. We have to look for these opportunities and respond to them in order to maintain our exceptional service philosophy with every customer at every interaction,” says Schinnerer. As one would expect, Pebble Beach Company occasionally faces challenging and unhappy customers. Pebble Beach Company believes that “leaders must dispense enthusiasm.” Schinnerer cites an incident when he got a call from a staff member asking him to meet immediately with an unhappy customer. Schinnerer went to meet with the guest, who told him, “You have a terrible job because you have to deal with people like me who are angry.” Schinnerer responded: “I have a great job because I can make angry people like you happy.” Good to his word, he explored with the customer exactly what had gone wrong, made restitution immediately and turned an unhappy customer into a happy one.

“The customer is always right,” according to Pebble Beach Company, and every Leader is empowered to assure that the “once in a lifetime experience” does happen every time, as echoed in the words of day-to-day customers who report: “The service is top notch—second to none.” “These resorts have the best, most first rate service anywhere.” “This is an experience you live your whole life for.”

“This is paradise and heaven rolled into one spectacular resort!” “It was one of the single greatest experiences of my life.” Continued on following page PAGE 6

Customer First


Continued from previous page

The Inn at Spanish Bay Photo by Joann Dost

While the lodges are large, Pebble Beach Company has figured how to provide individual, exceptional service.

Another customer group that is critical to achieving the goals of Pebble Beach Company is the golf professionals who play the courses and enjoy the resorts and other facilities as “paid” and “paying” guests. To quote just a few: If I had only one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach. ~ Jack Nicklaus—18-time Major Champion. Ask any golfer around the world to name a golf course in the United States and Pebble Beach will be the first thing they say. ~ Tom Watson—8-time Major Champion. I don’t think you can get a better venue any place in the world. ~ Ernie Els—2-time U.S. Open Champion. Playing here should be a sacred experience…this magnificent course that has had so many great champions. ~ Johnny Miller—2-time Major Champion.

Bottom Line

On every Pebble Beach Company business card is their Mission Statement: a public and ongoing commitment to what they are about; what they will deliver with every interaction. Exceed the expectations of every guest, by providing a once in a lifetime experience... every time. When an organization is bold enough to publicize the expectations to which they want to be held, the sincerity of the Values by which they intend to live takes on a whole new perspective. As Schinnerer proudly reports, “Pebble Beach Company never takes their customers for granted; we must embody exceptional customer service with every interaction because customers deserve that.” By the NCSA Editorial Team.


Customer First


Pebble Beach Company Values


Customer First


Pebble Beach Company Standards