November 20, 2019

Tisch Center Course Spotlight: Customer Relationship Management, Professor Maldari

Professor Ralph Maldari teaches the Customer Relationship Management course in the BS in Hotel and Tourism Management. This concentration course is intended for students in the Marketing and Revenue Management, and Organizations and Operations concentrations. In this post, Professor Maldari shares his background and approach to the course.

What is your background?  

I had the pleasure of working at the NYU Langone Medical Center while attending NYU graduate school classes at night. Upon graduation, I did a major move and went to Phuket, Thailand to manage general operations at The Royal Phuket Yacht Club. I then returned back to the U.S. and worked as a Hotel Manager at The Trump Soho Hotel, now known as The Dominick. At this point, I loved hospitality and realized how so many different industries could benefit from hospitality, and one industry that I had prior experience in was healthcare. I got recruited to Mount Sinai to revamp the patient experience. I worked my way up there and was recruited to work at the Hospital for Special Surgery where I am now and developed a guest services department. I have recently moved into a Vice-President role. 

At the Tisch Center, you teach the Customer Relationship Management course. What are the objectives of the course?    

This course explores the structures, cultures, and the goals of organizations with the purpose of developing effective strategies for managing their customer relationships. The active management of the relationships requires thorough analysis of customer demands, expectations, and needs. The creation of strategies to assess and satisfy customer demands and needs are the basis of a systematic approach to relationship management. Topics to be covered include: customer behaviors and expectations, service delivery strategies, customer value, guest satisfaction, service quality, continuous improvement processes, customer communication skills, technological applications, and reward and loyalty programs.

Why are you interested in this specific topic and why do you think it is important? 

Personally, customer relationship management is a part of who I am. Ever since I was a child, there it has been ingrained in me to be respectful when engaging with people. Nowadays, more than ever, relationships are important, whether it’s relationships in the workplace or relationships in social circles. Relationships are the basis of a cultural foundation for any organization. Therefore, having a strong CRM infrastructure could benefit companies in profound ways. I also think CRM is really important as technology has become more and more prominent in our industry. I believe technology is great, however it can only take you so far. CRM is really a combination of both technology and relationships. 

What are some examples of projects that students will take on in this course? 

I am a big believer of using your role as a student in the hospitality industry to develop your network and build your relationships. One of the projects involves every student going out to schedule and interview a hospitality professional in NYC. The purpose of this assignment is for students to develop their network and get to know an industry professional’s role that they’re interested in. The other project is to develop a CRM strategy for either a business that each student wants to start or a company that a student is interested in learning more about. 

What sort of impact do you hope to have on your students through this course? 

First, I want to show students that developing relationships takes time and creativity. Second, I want to convey to students that networking and developing interpersonal skills is crucial. A lot of students are extremely shy at the start of class, but I really want students to leave the class more confident in their beliefs. The third impact I hope to have on students is for them to build a network. I am always willing to help make students introductions and I emphasize to students that they can always reach out to me. I strive to develop relationships with students that extend beyond the classroom whether that’s writing a letter of recommendation or being a mentor. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?    

NYU is expensive but I think it’s extremely valuable and there are so many resources available to students. I would urge students to take full advantage of everything that the university has to offer. 

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