Hospitality with Alec Dalton – E104

Episode released on: 12. December 2022

The CX Goalkeeper had the great opportunity to interview Alec Dalton

LinkedIn Headline: At Your Service … Service Operations Consultant | Best-Selling Author | “Top 20 Hospitality Executives to Watch in 2022”


  • 00:00 Game Start
  • 00:36 Alec’s Introduction
  • 03:29 Alec’s Values
  • 05:08 What’s the status of customer experience in hospitality?
  • 11:09 Best practices
  • 12:52 It’s not rocket science
  • 15:57 Alec’s best experience during his last trip
  • 19:44 Common mistakes to avoid
  • 23:25 Quality Management
  • 27:16 How will hospitality evolve
  • 30:15 The future of CX
  • 32:31 Alec’s book suggestion
  • 33:49 Alec’s contact details
  • 34:09 Alec’s Golden Nugget

and much more

Guest’s Contact Details:

His book suggestion:

  • The Experience Economy by Joe Pine and J. Gillmore

Alec’s Books:

  • Customer Experience
  • Customer Experience 2
  • Operations management in the hospitality industry

Guest’s Golden Nuggets:

  • We touched on it a little bit, but I’ll summarize it is that service isn’t rocket science. I think oftentimes organizations overcomplicate customer service, hide it behind policies and procedures but at the end of the day, service is delivered by employees who are empowered to give their best personal selves to their customers and try and be helpful and be friendly and warm along the way.
  • And if we can create organizations that focus on those key qualities of empowering the frontline, and making sure that there’s an environment, a culture of warmth, positivity, helpfulness and friendliness, than hospitality naturally follows suit.
  • it’s certainly something that can be trained, but it’s also something that can be innately developed through the quality of a culture. And so again, I would encourage leaders, as you look at your organization to think about ways in which you’re helping your frontline teams to deliver those experiences with those aspects of hospitality, even if you’re not in the hospitality business.

“Service isn’t rocket science (…) think about ways in which you’re helping your frontline teams to deliver those experiences with those aspects of hospitality, even if you’re not in the hospitality business.” @AlecNDalton on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

“if we can create organizations that focus on empowering the frontline, and making sure that (…) there is a culture of warmth, positivity, helpfulness & friendliness, than hospitality naturally follows” @AlecNDalton on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast


Gregorio Uglioni
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast your host, Greg will have smart discussions with friends, experts and thought leaders on customer experience transformation and leadership. Please follow this podcast on your preferred platform. I am sure you will enjoy the next episode with the guest I selected for you.

Ladies and gentleman tonight. It’s really a great pleasure because I have Alec Dalton together with m. Hi Alec, how are you?

Alec Dalton
How are you, Greg, it’s a pleasure to be here and hello to the audience.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much for your time, super happy that you accepted my invitation that we can discuss about hospitality and customer experience. I think it’s something extremely relevant because we are all traveling. And we want to travel and therefore it’s something that it’s relevant for for everybody. But as usual, before we started the game, we wanted to learn a bit more about you. And therefore, Alec, could you please introduce yourself?

Alec Dalton
Certainly. So again, my name is Alec Dalton. I’m the managing partner of the hospitality Leadership Academy and executive director of accelerating leaders. And both of my organizations work with primarily b2c businesses with brick and mortar presences. Often that’s in the hospitality industry thinking along the lines of hotels, restaurants, cruise lines, casinos, and theme parks. But we also extend to organizations in the retail space and healthcare, or really anywhere where customers come into a business and share a physical space with an organization and the service providers that work there. And it’s just a lot of fun. It builds on a career that I had for 10 years with organizations like Disney, the Ritz Carlton and Marriott International. I started my career with my boots on the ground in hospitality environments, working in hotels at front desks and concierge roles in club lounges. And then spent about six years at Marriott International’s corporate office where I lead various global quality programs for about 7500 hotels worldwide and across 30 different brands. So that’s a real pleasure to join my team and to connect with other organizations and help them to design and deliver effective service experiences.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much, Alec. And I think if you mentioned Disney, you mentioned Ritz Carlton and Marriott, then I end over to you and they say I will leave the stage is yours.

Alec Dalton
We’re gonna have a fun conversation here for sure.

Gregorio Uglioni
No, thank you very much. Sure. I’m super happy and super thrilled. You mentioned also some highlights of from your career. For the people watching the video, we see also in on your background, that you were also that you are also an author, could you please share a bit about that?

Alec Dalton
Absolutely. I’m really proud to have co authored two best selling books on customer experience right here, customer experience that the first volume and the second volume. We’ve got many colleagues around the world who contributed their insights, these great books, and I’d highly recommend that those in the CX community, check them out for some really useful insights. I also had the privilege of co authoring and CO editing the second book right here behind me. And that’s operations management in the hospitality industry. It’s a textbook intended for both students and practitioners who are looking to apply that traditional practices in operations management, like Lean or Six Sigma, and use those in service settings.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much, Alec, I think three great books. I was also co author of customer experience three and customer experience for it’s been a really after we went over there. Exactly. And due to time constraints, we I’m not going to ask all the awards that you want during your career, because then we would feel the next 20 minutes. But ladies and gentlemen, please check out the profile of ALEC because you will learn a lot. He’s really a great guy, and I’m looking forward to this discussion. But thank you so much, Greg. Before we deep dive in the topic, we selected one thing it’s really important to me and it’s also important to the audience this is something that I got as a feedback we would like to learn a bit more about you and not only about awards and what you did your during your career, but which values drive your life.

Alec Dalton
That’s a great question. I think at the end of the day hospitality is both an industry as well as a way of life. And so the way that I try and approach my way of being is through that kindness warmth and presenting that hospitality as an example to those around me.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much and it’s only a small example but when we were chatting through emails at the end of all your emails it stated at your service and I think this is really represent also your mindset and and how you are working and how you’re done delivering go to these amazing experiences for your customer, and then for sure for the end customer, guest of hospitality. And therefore,

Alec Dalton
Thank you for noticing that, Greg,

Gregorio Uglioni
it’s a pleasure. I think we are in customer experience. So we need to take care of the details. And you mentioned that you work for Disney. And this is one of the main topics also Disney taking care of every details. And now about hospitality. This is the topic we would like to discuss, and you are really an expert. And therefore, please, let’s start a really high level. What’s the status of customer experience in hospitality?

Alec Dalton
It’s a really interesting state, in hospitality for a couple of reasons. On one hand, hospitality has always focused on customer experience. Like I said, when I was telling you about my personal values, hospitality is a way of being. And I think that it’s part of the heart of customer experience in general, is providing hospitable experiences, thinking of things, you know, when we break down what hospitality is thinking of aspects like warmth, generosity, openness to others, receptiveness to ideas, inclusivity. These are all characteristics that are fundamental to the business business that has always required people to come together and engage in memorable experiences. Each of us when we reflect on our own lives, and our own memories, whether they be births, or deaths, or weddings, or celebrations, reunions of any kind, and oftentimes associated them with a hospitality setting, whether it be a restaurant, or a hotel, or a family vacation to an amusement park. And so these businesses have not only the power to connect people as they move and travel, but also the opportunity to create very deep and meaningful and purposeful memories for people. So on the one hand, that hasn’t changed, that’s been the case, for time immemorial, 1000s and 1000s of years, as long as people have been moving from one place to another, eating at somebody else’s table, and staying in a temporary bed for the night and route from one place to another. What is changing is the manner in which that is conducted, especially as it relates to I think, two large factors. One is the person to person engagement that you would find in a restaurant or a hotel, for example. And the other is the digital interface that’s starting to occur as technology advances. The interesting thing, I think, is that both of these trends play into each other. And so I’ll break them down a little bit more. As far as the human side of the business goes, especially, I think, in large part as a result of COVID-19 and the hygenic implications of social distancing, and needing to create space between people. Also the economic consequences of organizations having to reduce their head counts, companies have found ways to be a bit more lean in the hospitality business. And so you may go to a property on a vacation or for work and only see a couple of staff members, perhaps the Front Desk Agent who checks you in might be the only member of the team that you directly interact with, whereas in days gone by the presence of staff may have been overflowing. Part of that is due to the financial implications of staffing, labor being one of the most expensive costs to a hospitality business. Part of it’s also very much cultural, relating, again to the hygiene of person to person interaction, we’re also finding is that some of its very cultural. And as more and more parts of the world start to develop, economically speaking, as people see and pursue more opportunities, and especially in a digitally connected world, where now you could easily find a job were relatively easily find a job where when could work from home, you know, or work virtually from their favorite tropical destination. Having to work in a building at a you know, in a restaurant or in a hotel isn’t always the most attractive. And so there’s also this pronounced labor shortage that the industry is experiencing. A lot of that I think has to do with the lifestyle, the volatility of a job that is not nine to five that is not typically Monday through Friday or Tuesday through Saturday, depending on your parts of the world. And it’s also a very physically demanding emotionally taxing form of work for which there unfortunately isn’t as much economic compensation as there is another businesses. So there are challenges on the labor front, but were those I think are solved and benefited from an amplified, in the best way are through digital solutions that are starting to emerge. And so for the last several years, we’ve had hotel companies and restaurants deploy mobile applications. That’s nothing new. That’s not a shocker. I’m sure each of us has a large number, or at least a reasonable collection on our own phones of different brands that we favorite. What’s changing, though, are the capabilities of that technology. There’s an increase Using presence of mobile chat functions where for example, if you’re in a hotel, you can go into the app and instantaneously communicate with the hotel staff to request more towels. Instead of having to use the guestroom phone or visit the front desk. Before you even arrive, many brands allow you to check in virtually even sometimes as many as 24 or 48 hours in advance. On the airline side, there’s been a tradition of being able to select your seat on a plane, hotels increasingly are moving towards a space where you can select your room in advance of arrival. And these are just examples of ways in which companies recognize that even in a typically human to human business, there are ways in which technology can play a humane role. And I think a big opportunity right now, not just in hospitality, but for businesses across any industry is truly how do you make humane technology? How do you infuse hospitality into a pixelated screen? And I imagine we might delve into that a little bit throughout this conversation. But it’s one of my favorite topics to think about and help organizations work through.

Gregorio Uglioni
And I think what you what you’re saying is extremely important, speaking about personal connections, but also digital digitizations. And trying to connect them. And I’m quite sure that you already saw several best practices in your career, but also as frequent traveler around the globe. Which which best practices, do you think that also other industry can leverage or should leverage because are clear in this hospitality world, but not in other industries.

Alec Dalton
One of the things that I appreciate about a lot of hospitality businesses in the way that they structure their applications is they create excitement about future experiences, as well as to a certain extent, recollections of past experiences. So for any number of hotel apps, when you come onto the app screen, it’s not just a generic Hello, Alec, welcome to Marriott bonvoy, or, you know, Hilton H honors app, it’s, it’s oftentimes promoting either a destination that you frequent and saying, we’d love to see you back in New York City. Or it’s to a certain thing kind of advertising the hotel that you already have a reservation for in a couple of weeks and saying we’re looking forward to seeing you here. On one hand, that’s, I think, a beautiful example of a way a business can personalize and create that warmth. And that hospitality before the arrival even occurs, it’s helping the customer to, I think, validate their purchase, and their intent to come and visit and it builds excitement and momentum for that stay so that when the customer does arrive, when the guest enters through those doors, they truly feel like they’ve come to the place that they’ve intended to that they’ve been planning to that they’ve been excited about it regardless of the trip purpose. So I think that’s one example that I consider a best practice. One thing that I also think is really important, increasingly, is allowing for mobile supported payment. And that could be something as, as uncomplicated, and for lack of a better word as Apple Pay where you don’t necessarily need your own app. In order to allow customers to use Apple Pay, it can be configured on the point of sale systems, let’s say in a restaurant, you don’t need to build out your own software to configure it. But at the same time, you know, organizations that have loyalty programs where you can redeem points for experiences, or Disney classically has magic bands that you put on your wrist, you link a credit card. And so as you’re traveling through many Disney parks around the world, as you go to purchase a plush Mickey souvenir or an ice cream bar, you simply tap your wrist and it glows with pixie dust and it makes a nice magical sound to confirm a payment in a very unknown transactional kind of a way. And the more seamless that payments can occur, the more the customer, the guests can focus on the experience that they’re embedded in.

Gregorio Uglioni
I really like your two or two examples, one about frictionless experiences in particulars about payments. And thank you because you know that I’m coming from this field and therefore Thank you very much for taking care of about my past. And in the second thing that you are saying it’s about personalization, but I think some authors are already one step ahead. And they are not only personalizing experiences, but you’re also making them individual. It means it’s individual an individual experience. They know what you like to drink, and they bring exactly to you at the right point in time what to drink. And I think this is really extremely interesting and something that we can leverage also from from other in other industries.

Alec Dalton
Exactly, and it’s not rocket science. This is something that the Ritz Carlton is famous for, and I’ll give a little peek behind the curtain Working. It’s not because every lady or gentleman employed by the Ritz Carlton is a mind reader. It’s because there are systems in place and technologies that are embedded whether it be radios that the doorman have as they take your luggage out of the car, take a quick glimpse of your luggage tag and radio to the front desk to say Mr. And Mrs. Smith is approaching in a red sweater. Or it’s a nod from the front desk to the restaurant to say Mr. Smith has arrived. I noticed on his profile that he likes Zinfandel. I also know that from our discussion at the check in that he plans to dine with you tonight, you might want to make sure that you’ve got a cool bottle ready for him. It’s all about communication and technology that helps to deploy what at the end of the day. It’s just really advanced CRM.

Gregorio Uglioni
Exactly. And I think there are technology in place. But one thing that you mentioned at the beginning that I would like to come back, you mentioned one word that it’s extremely important, it’s memories. And I know that that you are traveling a lot. And therefore perhaps could you share with us what was your the best experience that you had during the last travel because it created a memory that you can have and you are going to leverage with to share with us today?

Alec Dalton
Absolutely. So as Greg knows, I’m a bit of a globetrotter and just spent the last six weeks or so traveling through six countries between Africa, Europe and Central America. And I ended the trip in Belize where I was delivering a keynote for the Belize tourism board at their annual elevate conference intended to train the local hospitality professionals. And a few days afterwards, the conference had concluded I was vacationing in the western part of Belize in the Chaya district, a town called San Ignacio a beautiful resort property. And while having dinner one evening, the server came up to me and referred to me by name, he said, Alec, it’s such a pleasure to be able to meet you. And wanting to understand a little bit more about that I you know, in being humble about it, too, I asked for a little bit more context, and so that it certainly was a pleasure to meet him as well, but to hear how he had heard of me. And it turns out this gentleman His name is Alito, he had attended the conference, and had heard the keynote speech and participated in a couple of the different workshops, including one that one of my colleagues offered on the crafting of cocktails and bartending skills, basically, the mixology one on one, if you will, and Alito shared that not only did he enjoy the keynote, and took away some kind of cool thoughts from what I had to share, but that as a result of the mixology class, he had been practicing each night on his own at home, all of the different techniques that he had been learning and he had been borrowing tools from the restaurant, so that he could, you know, recreate those experiences and learn and practice. And that as a matter of fact, within the coming weeks, he was going to start to provide bartending service in the hotel restaurant, because he had up leveled his skill so successfully. And what I loved about that experience, a very personal experience for me, because it was meaningful to know that my team was able to have that kind of impact. But it was even more enjoyable for a leader to then bring some of his cocktails over, and invite me to sample them and try them and share feedback on on their quality. And I think the mark of great service is one in which you create a bond with those around you, not just maybe your family or friends or business partners sitting with you at the table, but also the servers and the professionals who are facilitating that experience to there’s a quality in any service business. That’s called the simultaneity of production and consumption. It’s a very academic way of saying that experiences are made and experienced in the moment, they happen at the same time. But in doing so we co create experiences. So Alito, and I both made that moment happen. And I have my memory from that experience and Alito also has a memory of engaging with me and, and meeting me a couple days after that conference and vice versa. So I think that organizations that recognize that unlock a really powerful way to motivate their team members, because especially in dynamic settings, like the hospitality industry that can be very physically and emotionally demanding. At the same time, employees can walk away from their experiences at the end of each day with a bit of instant gratification, knowing the impact that they had on other people, and also reflecting on the impact that other people have had on their own lives and well being.

Gregorio Uglioni
It’s a great story and it’s exactly made from memories. As you explained. I think you shared quite a lot of stories and name of hotels and restaurants are our top the best of the best. But at the end, the normal tourists normal customer is often facing some some issues, and from your point of view, which are the common mistakes that are easy to avoid for authors, for restaurants and so on, how can you also help them to identify them and then fix them.

Alec Dalton
Because at the end of the day, the most important thing any business can be doing is listening to the voice of the customers, as well as the voice of the employees. It’s not rocket science, what’s going wrong in a business. But what’s challenging is making sure that there are channels in place to listen for those reverberations, so that you can spot that the issues that appear and then figure out the root causes underneath them that can be corrected. In hotel, for example, one of the most common challenges that we run into is the reverberation of noise between guest rooms. And it’s always a surprising challenge to me, not because it’s something novel, like I said, just about every hotel in the world runs into some degree of noise issues. What’s surprising to me is the fact that there are technologies in place that allow you to eradicate room to room or even external noise, different types of insulation that can be used different types of paneling on windows that can be added, the way that the transom and threshold of a door is constructed, can help to prevent some of those reverberations. And so I remember, when I was at Marriott International’s corporate office, part of my mission was in global quality was take what I was learning about challenges like noise that our customers were telling us over and over again, and surveys, and connecting that insight with teams that could fix it. And so it was often engaged in conversations with partners in global design, who were responsible for the sourcing and procurement of the construction materials, to let them know, you know, this particular variety of hotels is having this particular set of noise challenges, you might want to reconsider the transom or the threshold, again, that you’re using. Or I understand that some hotels, historic hotels, especially use terracotta, we’re not about to knock down a hotel and rebuild it because a couple of guests are complaining about noise. But perhaps there are different soundproofing technologies that we can deploy. From a sound engineering standpoint, to help to at least minimize or muffle some of those those sounds. It’s just a real finite example to say, again, listen to your customers, listen to your employees, find channels with which you can do that. But make sure that you’re not just listening, that you’re actually doing something with that information. And CX and quality organizations often play challenging roles. They’re responsible for everything that happens across an organization. And at the same time, they have financial responsibility and or metric ties to nothing. In global quality at Marriott, I had full purview from food and beverage to engineering, housekeeping and front office pool spa and everything in between. But yet, I didn’t have a budget to control any of those other lines of business colleagues did. And just like in customer experience, it’s all about recognizing kind of the politics of the matter. But using your power, the insights that you have, and the ability to partner with these other members of the organization, in order to help them be successful in their own lines of business, ultimately, to help those on the front lines deliver a better experience to your customers.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. And I think it’s important to deep dive in this topic. You spoke about quality management. Could you please elaborate a bit on that? What are the best practices that you applied in quality management?

Alec Dalton
I think the first thing we need to do is define what quality is. And I don’t think enough organizations do a sufficient job of this. But to me personally, quality actually has three different definitions. On one hand, most functionally, there’s a degree of consistency. And I call this compliance quality or conformance quality. An organization has certain standards about the way that things to be done. And either a service does delivered on standard or off standard. A really precise example of this would be in W hotels worldwide. It’s one of Marriott’s 30 brands, it’s known for being a bit cutting edge and trendy, and it has a color scheme that pronounces neons quite frequently, and that includes a display of apples that’s typically present at the front desk, as well as in the pool area or near the spa to offer a refreshing treat with a really vibrant green. And so the standard would very simply be is there. A bowl of apples? Is the bowl the correct aesthetic or the apples green up of a particular variety? Are those available in that local area? Is there a reasonable number of them? Are they polished etcetera? Are there napkins present nearby? Yes or no? It’s fairly binary. But to a certain extent, the customers might not actually care about the apples W’s done enough research, you know that they’ve, they’re meaningful, at least aesthetically, if not also functionally, and they promote health and wellness. So there’s there’s actual benefit to the brand. But that kind of brings us to another dimension of quality. And that is customer satisfaction. And customer satisfaction is making sure that at the end of the day, the customer coming into your door, the guests walking into your hotel or restaurant, Are they satisfied with the experience that they had? Did they get what they wanted, at least out of it, if there were challenges along the way, were those challenges corrected and adequately resolved. Customer satisfaction, obviously, is key and at the heart of what we do in customer experience. But related to that is the third piece of quality. And that’s all about competitive quality. And so our customers don’t just exist when they’re in our buildings, they don’t just exist when they’re on the phone with our call center teams are when they’re browsing or websites, right. Each of us has a very broad and complex life. Each of us comes with experiences from our competitors, or even from other industries. And so it’s important to be conscious of those analogous practices. And I mentioned earlier, for example, that airlines typically allow you to select your seats. But why couldn’t a hotel allow you to select a room? Why has it taken decades to progress to a point where that’s feasible? There are all sorts of business reasons, I can tell you why that’s the case. But from a customer standpoint, they’re used to having that degree of control. And the competitive aspect of quality is on one hand about understanding your customer and where they’re coming from. So that you can deliver an experience that is on par with their what’s called the average experience, regardless of which businesses they entertain. And part of it’s also making sure that you are competitive within your particular industry. And in hospitality, this we can benchmark things like AAA or or CA the American automobile and Canadian automobile associations, Forbes travel guide, there lots of different ways that you can benchmark your business. But fundamentally, that competitive aspect of quality, the compliance aspect of quality. And I think most centrally, that customer satisfaction, aspect of quality, are all things that need to be considered in order to deliver a great experience.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. I think this this quality topics is something that we could deep dive in one of the next episodes, because it’s a lot. It’s a lot of insights, and taking care also of your time. And perhaps one question about the future of hospitality. How will hosipitality evolve?

Alec Dalton
That’s a great question. And it’s a bit full circle to where we began the conversation, talking about the challenges from labor and staffing standpoint, not only in terms of being able to fill hotels, with great qualified staff, but also attracting talent. And going back to the kind of the cultural movement that’s happening, where it’s not as attractive in industry to work in as others right now. At the same time, we’re seeing that pendulum swing on technology where technology is increasingly being affordable for businesses in the hospitality space, abundant in variety, so you have choices that can meet your particular needs as an organization, and also especially being accessible to customers and being tools that customers are receptive to trying and using, versus in the past where there may have been a little bit more resistance to technology, or it simply wasn’t, wasn’t until about 15 years ago that we all had phones in our pockets, right with, with all the mobile apps and capabilities that we’re we’re used to today and not having to you know, triple type the letters on a on a flip phone. So I think as I think about the future of hospitality, it’s about humanizing that technology. And finding more and more ways to, let’s say, have brand voice shown and demonstrated through that technology have it become more humane and hospitable and warm and interactive, and personalized. That tactically means an increased use of bots. Robotic chat, in some cases, it can also be voice command technology in buildings. There’s a really interesting product that’s being developed right now. Florida International University. It’s the world’s first robotic bartender name is Celia. She crafts the coolest drinks but my favorite part of Cecilia is that there’s actually a large screen and you see a woman mixing your cocktails, while she’s telling you jokes and asking you how your day is, and risk and most impressively responding to you and engaging with you and what appears to be a legitimate conversation. I think that more and more that artificial intelligence and certain software along those lines and virtual and artificial reality are projected into the world, the more hospitality businesses can use those in ways that are seamless, unnatural and not uncanny and inhuman to a certain extent. And in doing so, the labor challenges become slightly less of a challenge. And if anything, provide more opportunity for personalization at scale,

Gregorio Uglioni
it’s it’s really interesting because at the end, it’s in every industry, it’s industry similar that you can leverage technology as the mean to the to the target that you want correctly. And they need to support people for the normal or easiest tasks and jobs and then giving to people to to human beings have a more value added task where it’s still empathizing, important or older, or the relevant things. Precisely perhaps, the last question, now we are in 10 years from now, you wrote additional three additional books, but that’s something different. And we are on the CX goalkeeper podcast, and we are discussing about customer experience, what you’re discussing about?

Alec Dalton
That’s a great question. One of the things that I think we’re going to be talking about for a long time is how can we keep experiences fresh and innovative. And right now, we’re kind of in I think, the the maturing phase of talking about the role of digital technology and customer experience. I’m curious what’s coming next. I think that virtual reality is emerging in lots of different forms. And not just with headsets strapped to our eyeballs. But I think we’ll probably be talking a lot more about that, we’ll be talking a lot more about robotics, and hardware that supports the experience and not just the software that we play through our screens, whether our desktops or our phones, that we’ll be talking a bit about that. And we’ll be talking about how much person to person like an actual human on the other end, is required. And in delivering a customer experience, there is always going to be a need for somebody to build and program the robot, you know, at the very least, and that person, you know, will need engineering chops in order to do it. But they also need customer experience skill sets. And so part of that conversation will probably be how do we extend customer experience from the discipline that we know and love into other parts of the organization? And it’s honestly a conversation that we always have to this day. I think that’s that’s going to continue, and I look forward to having that conversation.

Gregorio Uglioni
Me too. And I’m super happy to have a future conversation together with you with virtual reality or in the metaverse on the CX goalkeeper podcast in in 10 years from now. But now we are coming to the end of this of this game of this discussion. I still have three question for for you. We are in the last three minutes of the game. The first question I would like to ask you, is there a book that you would like to suggest to the audience because it helped you during your career or during your life?

Alec Dalton
Yeah, I think the book that definitely changed the game for me was the experience economy by Pine and Gilmore. What I love about it is the way it breaks down into really concrete frameworks, all sorts of different types of experiences that we interact with. And what’s helpful in doing that, as you can then think outside of the box about your own experience. So how, for example, can a hotel not only be a place where you get a good night’s sleep, but a place where you can escape, where you can learn where you can appreciate art. There’s a brand of hotels United States called 21 C museum hotels, and they literally bring an art gallery into the lobby and into the guest rooms. And so how can you take your experience and plus it in lots of different directions. That’s a book that I would recommend if you want to think about ways to do it.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. And what’s the best way to contact you?

Alec Dalton
The best way to reach me is through LinkedIn, you can search my name Alec Dalton, and I’d love to connect with you there feel free to follow. I like to share engaging insights from time to time and then you’re also entirely welcome to direct message me if I can ever be a resource to you and your organization.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much on it. One thing that I would like to mention is to also to follow you on Instagram because the picture that you are sharing it’s really breathtaking, really outstanding. And therefore I will share also your Instagram. Instagram. The last question is Alec’s golden nugget, if something that we discussed or something new that you would leave to the to do it? Sure.

Alec Dalton
We touched on it a little bit, but I’ll summarize it is that service isn’t rocket science. I think oftentimes organizations overcomplicate customer service, hide it behind policies and procedures but at the end of the day, service is delivered by employees who are empowered to give their best personal selves to their customers and try and be helpful and be friendly and warm along the way. And if we can create organizations that focus on that focus on getting on those key qualities of empowering the frontline, and making sure that there’s an environment, a culture of warmth and positivity, and helpfulness and friendliness, that hospitality naturally follows. it’s certainly something that can be trained, but it’s also something that can be innately developed through the quality of a culture. And so again, I would encourage leaders, as you look at your organization to think about ways in which you’re helping your frontline teams to deliver those experiences with those aspects of hospitality, even if you’re not in the hospitality business.

Gregorio Uglioni
I never allowed myself to commend the Golden Nugget because it was Alec’s golden nuggets. The only thing that I wanted to say is thank you very much for your time, Alec.

Alec Dalton
And Greg, likewise, it’s been such a pleasure to have this conversation with you. And I hope that the listeners enjoyed it as well.

Gregorio Uglioni
I am sure please, Alec, stay with me and to the audience. It was a great pleasure to share this discussion with Alec together, feel free to contact me or contact Alec, if you have any questions. Happy also to introduce you to Alec if you have any questions. Thank you very much. Have a nice evening. Bye bye.

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