Last night my family and I got together to celebrate Hanukkah- known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem 2nd century BCE.
Many of you will celebrate the Christmas Holiday and New Year in the next few weeks. Holidays are a special time for many people and their family. It’s an opportunity to connect and appreciate the time together as everyone cruised through a very busy 2014.
Being home around the holidays with my family gave me an opportunity to be grateful for the time we have together and cherish the memories we create. Mom cooked a very nice dinner for us and I picked up couple of neat holiday souvenirs and a new menorah (nine-branched candelabrum lit during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah) for my parents. My father was sharing the tradition of the blessings.
Together we sat down for dinner with the table decorated but the atmosphere was very warm and caring. My parent’s hospitality created magical moments of being together by appreciating the holiday time together away from our busy lives.
As I began to reflect on the holiday, it made me realize that we all seek meaning, hospitality and wonderful memories which is very similar to what I do in my career-creating memories for hotel customers. Holidays can create memories for many people around the world. People are more intentional around the holidays and want to create a sense of unity with their significant other, family and children.
For many people it’s also time for reflection and thinking about the upcoming year-being energized for a new beginning!
The hospitality and customer service industries share the same principles of creating memories and magical experiences for people all over the world. Even though technological advances create more efficient customer service, people still want the personal touch and the memories to take back with them as wonderful souvenir.
As we approach the New Year, the customer experience would be about creating lasting memories that create a positive impression of your business. Technology is not enough and a “nice to have’, but the real competitive advantage won’t what your customers get, but what would they take away and want to share with the people they know about your company’s service.
Companies that provide exceptional service are thinking outside the box and investing in their employees to create memorable moments with their customers. I can speak of such experience I recently recovered at a local Jason’s Deli.
Steve who was the manager was working the order/cashier desk when I walked in to have dinner. He took the time find out what I am in the mood for. He asked questions and engaged in a conversation about something I was interested on the menu. Instead of being in a hurry, Steve treated me as a VIP and anticipated my needs as I shared with him that I work out and looking for something healthy.
In addition, he offered the Texas Chili soup “on the house” and came over to the table to ensure the experience was satisfactory. Before I departed we chatted about the hospitality business and the opportunities we share about customer service.
This is just one story of someone who cared and connected with me, instead of treating me as another transaction. The positive experience resonated with me as I think managers need to lead the charge on setting the example of great customer experience more than any other time.