If focusing on service is a significant step on the InSPIRED leadership path, how do you go about making excellent service an everyday practice? You guessed it—by being Intentional.
Great service doesn’t happen by accident. Every member of your organization is a person who has good days and bad days.
Without a detailed plan in place for excellent service, you’ll only get the best any of those people can bring themselves to give on any given day.
But if you architect superior service every step of the way, you’ll know in advance, and with great certainty, the quality of your customer experience.
You’ll be able to deliver the gold standard when you define what optimal service must look like for your customer.
As I serve business leaders and organizations around the world, I travel quite a bit and stay in many hotels. Sometimes my wife goes with me. When we visit San Diego, my wife loves to stay at the Hotel del Coronado (or Hotel Del).
If you’ve never experienced the Hotel Del, it is a magical place to stay.
It was built in 1888 and turned into a National Historic Landmark in 1977. It has hosted presidents, movie stars, and all manner of famous people. Located right on the Pacific Ocean and just outside downtown San Diego, it has a unique vibe.
When we visited a few years ago, we checked in, got our keys, and went to the room. When we opened the door, the room looked nice, but no different than any other hotel room.
Plus, it faced the parking lot, so the view wasn’t great. A little disappointed, I went back down to the front desk clerk and explained that I was here with my wife and needed a bit of downtime. I asked if she might be able to put us in a better room.
Her response was excellent service in action. It gave us a customer experience extraordinaire.
She clicked a few keys on her computer, issued new room keys, and sent us to the new room. We walked down the hall both nervous and excited to see what was behind the next door.
As we swung open the door, the view took our breath away.
This Californian cabana looked out over beautiful landscape and onto the Pacific Ocean. Out the back door was a small patch of grass that transitioned to the dunes and then on to the beach.
An incredible beach vibe immediately washed over us as we felt the stress slip away. We could hear waves crashing with immense power and beauty. Sunlight streamed in through windows and doors, as the salty smell of the ocean permeated everything.
It was the polar opposite of the parking lot view in the other room.
Did the lady at the front desk have to upgrade us to this room? Certainly not.
But in doing so, she delivered a wow experience like nothing I’ve ever experienced. That was no accident.
Long before we arrived, someone architected that experience, empowering and encouraging her as a frontline employee to make superior customer service a top priority.
No matter your industry, when you deliver that kind of experience to your customers, you set yourself apart from your competitors.
Any hotel could provide us with a decent room and a continental breakfast, but Hotel Del provided us with an experience we’re still talking about. Even better, we committed this year to annual stays by joining Hotel Del’s Club level membership. After this particularly outstanding teammate served us well, we more than returned the value of her service.
Every team member has the ability to create a WOW experience for each customer—if they feel equipped and encouraged to deliver. Here are three tips for taking an average interaction from eh to excellent.
1. Get in Their Shoes
To best serve your customer, you have to think like your customer. What are they in front of you to experience? What might be a potential source of stress? What could put their experience with your brand/company/team over the top?
2.Take the Extra Step
The steps to excellent service are, more often than not, simple—they just take that extra step. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy on your mission.
So if you don’t have the information your customer needs or the authority to architect a WOW experience, take the time to gather, research, connect, ask, extend, engage, and even surprise!
3. See the Big Picture
Every interaction between you, your team, and your customers is just one moment in their larger story. But a truly inspired brand can leverage a single moment into a memory.
It might feel inconveniencing to take the extra step for a customer you may never see again—but with the bigger picture in mind, that one act of InSpired value can spark a connection that brings them back again and again and again.
Make this level of excellent service part of your value proposition.
Anyone can do what you can do, but no one can do it the way you do it. I call it serving others “from tip to tail.” It means you see customers as valued individuals, without whom you wouldn’t exist.
Average brands/teams perform individual tasks day after day. InSpired brands/teams create customer experiences they will never forget.
Architect a wow customer experience to make service your strength. Lean into it—and shine.
I’ve created a free R.A.C.E. Method™ Cheat Sheet to help leaders get things done!