I am not sure if it is just me, but I am beginning to think that even doing a little more for the customer is impossible. In fact, you can almost eliminate “going the extra mile” or “wowing” the customer. Those marketing concepts have largely disappeared, and most companies are fine with merely meeting expectations.
Learning from the Mandarin Oriental in Manila
I recently had a meeting in Manila, The Philippines, and I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental. While the hotel is a luxury-type, the American dollar is strong enough that the price is reasonable. The point here is that my room rate gave me access to the lounge where I could have snacks, invite guests, and so on. After introducing myself one time to the staff, they called me by name for the rest of my stay. They did not forget. Second, when I asked where the fitness room was located, a friendly representative walked me to the workout room. Finally, when heading to the lobby, one staff member beat me to the elevator and pressed the “Down” button for me. These actions happened because the leadership team is committed to strong customer service.
The Confused Look is a Sign of Poor Customer Service
Not long ago I went to purchase a few pants at a department store here in San Antonio, Texas. Like most men, I had no idea where anything was located in the store. When asking for directions, one store employee pointed to the general location of the escalators, and that is where I would find the men’s clothing section. After a few minutes, I found the escalators that went up, and of course they were hidden behind the women’s beauty section.
Upon arriving in the men’s section, I asked the salesman to help me with pants my size, showing him the brand of pants I like to wear by showing him what I had on that day. He gave me a weird and confused look and said, “Oh, those are casual and I am sure Mary can help you.” He went about his business, and I was on my way. As you guessed, I had no idea who Mary was, and so I took the bold move of looking for my own pants. As it turns out, I eventually found what I wanted, but with little help from anyone in the store.
What’s the Point?
The Mandarin Oriental and department store examples show a clear difference in how leadership drives customer service. In one case, employees go out of their way to ensure I am a satisfied customer. They are not going to break rules, but they are going to do whatever possible to make me happy. In the department store example, the experience was poor. The point here is to move product, and they can increase sales by guiding the customer. Mind you that I went to buy my pants on at 11 am on a Tuesday morning. The salespeople were not busy.
The takeaway here is that doing more takes less effort than you might thing. Even if you improve the attention given to the customer by just 10%, you will lead the pack. Imagine what can happen if you decide to revamp the entire approach to servicing the customer. By creating a plan that is supported by leadership and committed to training, backed by an incentive program, your company can rise to the top of the industry in short order.