Gregg Patterson, President
My wife and I visited St. Petersburgh, Russia recently, wanting to “go deep” into Romanov history, the Russian Revolution, the siege of Leningrad, the Hermitage museum and the Kirov ballet. We wanted a special someone, a professional guide, to provide insights and focus, a personal tutor, a “magician” who’d make “the stones speak.” My wife did the research and found a “special someone” who—she was told—was The Best, a native of the city, with multiple degrees from two universities, a knowledgeable, energized long time professional who’d recently been named, for all of Russia, Guide of the Year. We were told this woman—Helen—would “enlarge and enrich” our experience in this most magnificent of cities.
So we hired Helen for four days and quickly discovered that Helen had The Goods, that she truly was THE BEST. And as I witnessed and absorbed “The Helen Experience” I began pondering “why” she was such a superstar guide, why her expression of SERVICE captured the essence of The Service Personality. Then—crack!!!—I heard the thunder, was struck by lightning and saw “The Why”! Helen was The Best because she was a T.A.S.S. Master. She was a Teacher—and a Master. She was an Actor—and a Master. She was a Speaker—and a Master. She was a Server—and a Master. Helen had T.A.S.S. A T.A.S.S. Master. She enlarged and enriched our visit—and became, without knowing or trying, The Template I’ll use in the future to evaluate myself, teachers, leaders, supervisors, waiters, waitresses, spouses, parents, dinner guests or guides.
Want to become a T.A.S.S. Master like Helen? Want a different way of “seeing” and “evaluating” the service experience, the seminar encounter, the staff meeting or your spouse? Want a “template” for dissecting your next “people encounter”???
Learn the principles of T.A.S.S. from Helen who “taught us well” during our visit to The Faberge Museum—A.K.A. “The Egg Palace”—in the Shuvalov Palace in St. Petersburg.
“T” is for Teacher
Helen was a teacher. She gave my wife and me the “curiosity to seek”—we’d NEVER have gone to the Faberge “Egg Museum” if she’s not suggested doing so With Enthusiasm.
Like every good teacher, she gave us the “eyes to see” the jewelry and silverware in a way we’d never imagined—focused, slow, deep looking at things we might have missed while rushing through.
And, like every good teacher, she gave us the tools we needed—the books to read, the movies to view, the people to meet—to continue our life-long, self-guided educational journey.
Great leaders, servers and golf pros are Masters of Teach.
And Helen was a Teacher—a Master.
“A” is for Actor
It’s one thing to know your stuff—it’s quite another to convey “the stuff” with Buzz.
At the Faberge, Helen—like any good actor—brought her knowledge ALIVE.
Like any great actor, she knew that only 10% of the spoken message was about the words spoken. Necessary but not sufficient. Words by themselves are “blah”. Words need intonation, inflection and emphasis to resonate and these—The Big Three—are 30% of a well spoken message. Again, necessary but not sufficient. But Helen knew that great actors focus on the remaining 60% of The Spoken Word—and that’s body language, the Visual Symbols needed to deliver “the message” with impact. She knew The Eggs, she provided emphasis when describing The Eggs and she delivered “The Visuals” needed to dramatize The Egg Experience.
A great waiter, describing the day’s specials, needs to be a great Actor.
And Helen was an Actor—a Master.
“S” is for Speaker
Helen guided us through The Egg Palace for two hours. She held our attention. Rapt. We were her audience—attentive, engaged, enthused. And she was our Speaker—a Master.
Listen to Helen and you’ll know the goods a “Great Speaker’s Got”. She knew The Stuff she was speaking about—cold. She Loved the Stuff she was speaking about—with passion. And she was able to Channel the Love—and it’s The Love listeners remember.
A great manager needs to be a great speaker at the next Staff Meeting.
And Helen was a Great Speaker—a Master.
“S” is for Server
Helen was the Consummate Hospitality Professional. She had E.I.I.P.—she had Empathy for our needs (“After touring with you for two days, I thought you might like to visit The Egg Palace”.) She was able to Inspire us about the eggs we saw. She was a fountain of Information about the Palace—The Eggs, the history surrounding The Eggs and the dates when each was made and by whom. And—like any good server—she was able to Provide the goods needed to make the experience happen. Everything was “provided” and everything was done right—the driver, the tickets, the special entry time and the location of the coffee shop at the end of the tour.
But Helen had MORE—she lived The Principles of Service. Principle One—deliver happiness to those being served. And she inspired “Big Happy”. Principle Two—give dignity to those you serve. We knew nothing about The Egg Palace yet she made us feel “knowing” when she could have made us feel dumb. Principle Three—anticipate the needs of those you serve. Helen knew we hated crowds and lines and she got us in EARLY to avoid both. Principle Four—Clean Thinking and Clean Priorities. Helen knew we’d have questions, she encouraged those questions and answered each question CLEANLY. She always made us her first priority—she had “clean priorities”, people (Us!!!) always came before “stuff”. Principle Five—deliver The Stuff. Helen knew what was needed to make The Egg Palace experience work—the right rooms in the right order, the right eggs in the right order, the right “historical elaboration” in the right order. Principle Six—be a presence. Helen was at our elbow, physically present, all the time. And—while present—she was mentally “present,” focused on US. And lastly, Principle Seven—she saw everything and when something needed doing, she did it. Weren’t wearing the plastic “booties” to cover your shoes? She noticed and made us wear ‘em.
A great front desk receptionist needs to have Service Soul.
And Helen was a GREAT Server—a Master.
Everyone wants a “Great Guide” in their life—a spouse, a teacher, a supervisor, a manager, a board member, a professional coach, a wine steward—to provide insights and focus, a personal tutor, a “magician” who’s able to make “the stones speak.”
Helen of St. Petersburgh was all of those things—The Lens through which my wife and I saw The Russian Experience. She enlarged and enriched our journey.
When we visited The Egg Palace, Helen delivered T.A.S.S. without even knowing T.A.S.S. was being delivered.
She taught us The Principles of T.A.S.S. without even knowing T.A.S.S. was being taught.
Helen wrote the Book of T.A.S.S. that every manager, spouse, server and golf pro needs to read.
Study the T.A.S.S. template.
Expect T.A.S.S. from the waiters you meet, the leaders you speak to and the friends you keep.
And enjoy the journey……………….