The Customer Service Secret

The receptionist was irritated with the rudeness of the customer, Mr Elliott, at the reception desk. She felt that the expectations of her client were not a good enough reason for his irritation.

Mr Elliott had called her the previous evening and asked if he could be served at the advertised opening time for breakfast. He needed to leave at 6.45 to make an important meeting in the next town. The receptionist had said yes and left it at that. Breakfast started at 6.30am and ten minutes later Mr Elliott was at her counter blaming her for the fact that the kitchen staff were still firing up that gas stoves and casually taking out bowls of yogurt and fruit into the dining room. Mr Elliott rushed off muttering that he would have to go to his meeting hungry. The receptionist bristled with irritation and thought that Mr Elliott had no right to be so rude to her.

This situation is played out day after day at our tourism products. It results from a lack of knowledge about the concepts of expectations and value. 

To reach a perspective on the situation with Mr Elliott, lets first consider the mind-set of our customers when they interact with us:

  • What matters to our customers is themselves, and the people they care about
  • Every minute the customer is with you, the customer is thinking about his own reality.
  • They do not care about us, our hangover, our earlier traffic jam, our faulty technology or our grumpy boss
  • Customers want their expectations to be met, or they will go else ware
  • They expect not to wait longer than expected
  • They want a seamless experience, free of silos and departments

If we wrote a bill of rights for customers, these would definitely feature in it.

It is in understanding this that we can build a reality for our staff to work towards. Your customers have expectations based on their interactions with your website, your reservation staff and on the other cues that they have been exposed to. It’s their right!

So, lets reflect on the equation that will determine the future of our business profitability. Value is the sum total of the experiences that you have given to your clients compared to what they pay. If the experiences are erratic the customer will probably feel that the value is too low and not return.

If you want to grow your number of clients or the price you charge, first improve the quality of your experiences and the others will follow. Check each step of the customer journey while they are with you, bear in mind their expectations and look for interactions that will delight them and turn them into your promoters.

PS. My workshop, Madiba’s Servive Excellence Revolution, will take you and your staff deeper into creating value and multiplying your success.

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