Peter Boswell - Customer Service Motivation

What’s in it for me? Building Motivation as Leader

It’s the first question that your team will be thinking when you share with them a new process or way of doing things, in other words…“What’s in it for me? Why should I care?”

It’s a great question and one that hospitality leaders fail to address all the time.

Introducing New Ideas to your Team

Introducing new ways of doing things is so important for the industry, if you want to stay ahead of the competition. The industry is so fast moving and intensive that we can often neglect our teams, who we know are the most important people in the business.

Why should they care?

Why should they care? Why should they make changes for you? Why should they bother? The graphic below shows 3 simple words that should be considered when introducing something new and ensuring your team care about it as much as you:


It’s common knowledge that the hospitality industry salaries aren’t the best, but it is very common for your teams to contain really talented people.

The Solution

In my experience if your staff feel they have some control and that they are part of a journey, rather than just an employee, then wonderful things can happen and they will often deliver much better than you ever imagined.

It stands to reason that if people feel part of a journey then they are more likely to stay with you because they feel that they are making a difference.

Motivation – Start with “Why?”

So how did you read that? Most people start with “What” needs to be done, “How” it should be done and then….sometimes they explain “Why” it needs to happen. Challenging this norm can be really enlightening. I mean:

  • Why is this change happening?
  • Why is it important?
  • Why will it be successful?
  • Why are your team so integral to the change?
  • Why have we decided to do it?

If your team are really behind you and you really believe in them you often don’t need to direct the “How” or the “What” because they can be empowered to make these decisions themselves.

A Real Life Example

One of the most memorable examples of this I have is when I was working as a General Manager of a restaurant and the Pot Washer, a wonderfully funny and humble guy from the Middle East, was the only member of the kitchen team who didn’t call in sick one day and so it was to be just he and I cooking on that shift.

I explained that today I was the Head Chef and he was the Sous Chef (A role he had dreamt of for quite some time). I explained why he was now responsible for a whole service and that his attention to detail was paramount, the customer experience stood on our shoulders and at the end of the day I wanted his debrief of the shift.

As we faced the busy Saturday lunchtime with just the two of us, we both tackled it with such fun, respect and teamwork it was incredible.

I’d be lying if I said that it went smoothly, it didn’t! But there were no meltdowns and we worked well together delivering good food in a timely manner….I did begin to wonder why these chefs think they need so many people on a shift…. But let’s not go into politics!

At the end of the day, as we sat and had a beer, we talked about success and development areas if it ever happened again and he turned out to be one of the best back of house team I ever had. He progressed in his work and was a real asset to our business.
In fact he felt so motivated by that shift that he wanted to buy me the beer to say thank you. I assure you, I bought the beers 🙂

The theory of Why, How and What isn’t new but I believe it’s really powerful if put into practice. It involves letting go a little bit and ensuring your message of “Why” is heard loud and clear.

Simon Sinek is considered one of the great voices on the topic and I recommend both his TEDtalks as well as his book “Start with Why” if you want to dig deeper.



Guest Blogger Peter Boswell – Peter is a professional, international speaker whose fields of expertise are customer service and related topics. He has helped multiple companies improve their customer service and thereby their overall success. In this interview, Peter explains why he loves his job so much, and he even gives his best advice to improving customer service.


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Motivation! What’s in it for me? Building motivation as a Hospitality leader

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