The Ritz Carlton Hotel calls it “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”, and their training empowers them to “move heaven and earth” to satisfy customers.
Disney defines service quality as “attention to detail and exceeding guests expectations”. They know that you can “dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality”.
Ladies and gentlemen, moving heaven and earth, attention to detail, exceeding guests expectations, people making dreams a reality…..what are they characteristic of? Customer service, aka Guest Relations or just plainly- treating the people you interact with in a particular way. What these two companies know is that if people are treated exceptionally well, they will return again, and again. They not only want your repeat business, they also want you to spread their reputation of excellence around to everyone you know!
A reputation of excellence takes a long time to build. It must be consistently exuded in every interaction between each guest and employee, in every visit. When you stop to think about it, we are all in the business of guest relations – really we are!
Who are our “guests”? Our family members, neighbors, people who provide a service to us, and every single person we interact with each and every day – oh, yes – don’t forget our true business clients, too! Wow, that’s a lot of serving, you say! Yes it is, but who do we think of as our specially treated guests and who do we slide by with not doing much more than necessary to maintain the relationships?
I had a “guest relation” experience that prompted this blog post happened a couple of months ago, but has been brewing within. There was someone on a social media site that marketed a healthy product, which contained an herb with healing properties. This intrigued me, and I asked if she could offer me a sample, which she agreed. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Your product sounds very interesting, is there a way to receive a small sample?
Her: Send me your address.
The samples arrived in a plain brown envelope, with no note, no instructions, just two small packets, each with one serving of the healthy product.
Between the time of my request and receipt of the samples, I contracted a respiratory virus, and was taking multiple medications, including inhaled steroids. I was waiting to get off the medicines to try it. After about a week and a half, I received this message:
Her: Did you get the samples?
Me: Yes, thank you so much!
Her: Was free for you, but I had to pay for them, so I need to know if your tried them.
Me: I have been sick, and was waiting until I am off my medicines. I will let you know!
Her: Google search your meds to see if they interact.
Are you shaking your head about now? I decided to send the samples back to her, with a note thanking her for offering them. I was interested in sampling something with health benefits, and looking for a representative that provided information about their product with excellent customer service.
What should you look for in your customer service relationships?
What should I aspire to as a provider of excellent customer service?
Here are some great tips from Mark Sanborn’s “The Fred Factor” which he calls “The Seven B’s of Relationship Building” – Fred was Mark’s exceptional Postal Carrier – if you haven’t read it, you need to!
“1. Be Real ~ Always do your best at being yourself.” Don’t try to be anyone else. “The prerequisite for relationship building is trust. At its most basic level, trust is built by believing that people are who they represent themselves to be.”
“2. Be Interested ~ ….interested people attract appreciation. People are flattered when you express interest in getting to know them better,……. in an effort to help or serve them more effectively.”
“3. Be a Better Listener ~ …People are flattered when you make an effort to get to know them and seek information on how to serve them better. Understanding and appreciating what they want increases the value of what you can provide for them.”
“4. Be Empathetic ~ If you’re interested in others and make the effort to truly know them by listening to them, you’ll better understand how they feel. This is empathy. The need to be understood is one of the highest human needs, but too often people who know us either don’t care or don’t make the effort to understand how we really feel.”
“5. Be Honest~ …don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t create expectations you can’t fulfill. Avoid over-representing and over-promising. Be a man, or woman, or organization of your word. That’s integrity.”
“6. Be Helpful ~ Little things make a big difference. Lots of small things cumulatively make a huge difference….Remember your manners and people will remember you.”
“7. Be Prompt~ Time is one thing many people have far less of than money. Helping them save time by being prompt and efficient is a gift of great value.”
Growing up, I was a very shy and timid little girl. It took a lot of effort, and waitressing jobs, to bring me out of my shell. I observed those surrounding me throughout my life, watching the reactions of people they interacted with, and then repeating characteristics that provoked positive responses. I’m still a work in progress, and my kids will tell you I’m not working hard enough!
I hope you have found some tidbits to think about, and maybe apply to your “Customer Relations” with everyone around you!
Thank you for stopping by and “Making My Life Beautiful!”
PS Thank you all, for leaving such wonderful comments!
“Service Quality, Disney Style” by Scott Madison Paton http://www.qualitydigest.com/jan97/disney.html
Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award 1992 Winner, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company http://www.baldrige.nist.gov/Ritz_Carlton_Hotel_Co.htm
“The Fred Factor”, by Mark Sanborn, A Currency Book, Doubleday Publishers, Div. of Random House, copyright 2004, pages