Hospitality In The Details
When was the last time you were really taken aback by excellent customer service? I recently had a dear friend rave about her experience at a local print shop. To give you a little context of her need of help, she didn’t even know what a zip drive was. So rather than being dismissive or even worse, rude, the print shop employees spent hours with her, patiently converting documents to the right format, and then printing and binding her documents with excellence. Talk about going above and beyond!
When thinking back on experiences that stood out as extraordinary service, we tend to focus on significant selfless acts that go far above and beyond expectation. Excellent customer service is memorable because it affirms that the kindness of strangers is able to go beyond job descriptions, ensuring people are well taken care of. While it is a great goal for business owners and customer service representatives to provide story-worthy care, there is a need to stay focused on the small forms of hospitality too.
Often times, the small details are what makes the experience as a whole worth talking about. A warm smile and genuine greeting says more than just “hello”. A glass of ice-cold water on a hot summer day will communicate consideration. A well labeled bathroom can help a customer more than you may ever think it would, especially after that ice-cold water you offered! It is important to anticipate the needs of a guest before they even know what they’ll need. To do this, you need to take a step back and experience the environment as a customer would.
After working in the same environment day after day, we can often become blind to little things that should bug us. Step into the customer’s shoes and note all areas of their potential experience:
Is the parking lot clean of trash?
Does the lobby feel warm, safe, and comfortable?
Are the window blinds functional?
What is that smell?
Does the coffee taste like acid?
How easy is it to receive help?
Is it too loud or uncomfortably quiet?
Obsess over every detail of your customer’s experience, ensuring excellent hospitality from beginning to end. The small details may not always be worthy of a story, but they do communicate the quality of care and concern businesses are willing to provide.
My friend’s experience at the print shop was far and away the highlight of her day. She kept talking about the graciousness and patience displayed by the workers who helped her. Not once did she mention if the floors were sparkling clean or if the temperature was pleasant. In business, it is important to obsess over the small things not just so customers give rave reviews, but because hospitality is a trait of people who provide kindness for strangers at the expense of themselves.
Hospitality In Action Tip:
Obsess over every detail of your customer’s experience, ensuring excellent hospitality from beginning to end.