When musician Dave
Carrol had his precious
$3 500 guitar
broken by careless
baggage handlers on a
United Airlines flight, he was appalled at the
poor customer service response he received.
Fobbed off by indifferent ground crew at the
time of the incident, and following an almost
unbelievable series of failed attempts to get
any joy out of the company, Carrolís claim for
the broken instrument was eventually denied
for not being made within Unitedís stipulated
24-hour claim period.
Social media is fast becoming one of the hospitality industryís most valuable guest engagement tools. Of course, as with any tool, thereís a right and a wrong way to use it. Getting the most value out of social media requires that you use it the right way. Here are just five practical ways of doing that.
There's a lot currently being said in customer service circles about social media, and with good reason. The stellar growth of electronic communication and social media channels has meant that life, and business, no longer takes place in separate online and real versions. Online is real life. Or at least a significant aspect of it.
The process of creating a superb guest experience is far more than the sum of its parts. Yes, it requires a commitment to consistently exceed your guestís physical expectations, but it goes a big step further by also seeking ways to connect, at an emotional level, wherever possible. And that emotive element is what differentiates a great experience from great service.
With 77 hotels worldwide, staffed by 38 000 employees, The Ritz-Carlton hotel group is massive. Itís also widely recognized as the gold standard for consistently superb guest service and experiences Ė which is no small order when youíre a global franchise comprising of highly individual hotels set within extremely diverse cultures.
With the unenviable task of selling intangibles, Nathalie Schoolingís nevertheless making an unbridled success of her customer service development company, Nílighten. As a former Account Manager for Quest Staffing Solutions, Schooling says the idea of her company came with the realisation that within commoditised industries, the primary differentiator between very successful and marginally successful business was service delivery.
The most important thing for any business to remember is that Ďcustomer serviceí is not a noun, itís a verb. You need to be doing it, not saying it. and itís also important to remember that itís not just a question of whether you deliver customer service, itís a question of how you do so.
Long before I started my own company, I recognised the importance for any business to focus relentlessly on driving value up and costs down. Itís a lesson I
first learnt in the corporate environment where I witnessed the basic truth that if
something you do is not explicitly adding value to your customers, itís almost certainly an unnecessary cost.
The point is I donít want to be told that as a guest or customer of an establishment I am the Ďpropertyí of a single individual that has been assigned to serve me. I want to feel as though every employee considers it his or her privilege to do so. And itís not just me that feels this way. As a customer or guest, I share this belief with every other customer and guest on the face of the planet.
Your guests don't want good service when they visit your establishment. What they want is an exceptional experience. And when someone is spending their hard-earned money with you, they have a right to expect to be delighted. Which means that good service is really the least you can do. Literally.