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Transactional VS. Transformational Customer Service

“At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Many times, in business, we focus on customer service, and that’s a good thing! However, most businesses fall short by neglecting hospitality within that customer service experience. So where does hospitality begin within the customer’s experience?

These days, hospitality actually begins online, before the customer even steps inside your door. When they go to your website or your social media pages, what is the customer’s impression or experience? What are you communicating online that will compel them to make the call, send you an email, fill out a contact request form, or walk in your front door? And don’t forget to check out Google reviews and social media comments associated with your business. You will find some great feedback on customer’s experience there.

If you have some business networking buddies (and you should), ask them to pretend to be a potential customer and scope out your website, social media, and in-store/office experience. Have them give you their honest, but kind, critique on what they liked and what was confusing.

When the customer walks into your business, they should be welcomed with hospitality and that starts with your front house/front office staff. A warm and friendly staff member who knows how to make a customer feel welcomed and important, accompanied by knowledge about the business, will no doubt leave a positive impression through repeat customers, referred customers, and your balance sheet.

Jody Jean Dryer, retired Sr. Vice President of Synergy and Marketing for Walt Disney Corporation and Studios, recently wrote in her book, Beyond the Castle, A Guide to Discovering Your Happily Ever After, “Service implies providing a benefit before, during, and after interactions. And good service suggests leaving guests fully satisfied with their experience. But service is a transactional experience, a fair exchange between parties. Transformational guest experiences require something more. They require hospitality. If service is getting it done, then hospitality is loving on people in the process.”

Most of us have experienced this kind of transformational customer experience that was woven with hospitality because it leaves you with a good feeling, even if you can’t quite put your finger on what was done, or said to you in the process. Companies like Walt Disney World, Chick-fil-A, Williams Sonoma are just a few on my radar that leave me feeling good about my customer experience. There are many, many more, of course! Go ahead, give a shout out in the comments to those businesses, big and small, who you know excel at hospitality within business. We can all learn from each other.

Hospitality In Action Tip #12

People always remember how you make them feel, so have your most personable staff member welcome your customers.


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