Remember the theme song to the TV show Cheers: “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came”? Ideally, anyone interacting with customers (sales people, front office staff, restaurants staff and even websites) would recognize and remember every customer’s name and make them feel like a VIP.
Unfortunately, even in the smallest businesses, most customers don’t feel appreciated and valued when they interact with the staff. A company that is truly striving to create service excellence will make every effort emphasize memorable connection for EVERY customer, all the time. This does not mean that every customer would get the same service.
Service excellence requires personalization and making each customer feel as though there is no one else, at that moment, more important than him or her. Using customer’s names and learning their preferences are two ways to accomplish personalized service.
I remember we had a couple who came back for their wedding anniversary several weeks ago to our hotel. We learned that their wedding actually took place at our wonderful ballroom. So in order to create a magical moment for the couple again, we set up the room with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and rose pedals on the bed.
We also included a nice greeting card from the hotel staff. Upon their arrival we had several of our employees welcoming them with a personalized greeting wishing them happy anniversary. The couple was so ecstatic and joyful beyond their imagination without expecting all the attention and glamour. They felt valued and appreciated for visiting the hotel on their special day.
So how can we make our customers feel like a VIP?
Here are some recommendations and tools to help you and everyone in your company recognize your customers and treat them like VIPs.
Create memorable first impressions
First impressions are taken for granted in many places. They assume that customers already like their business or service without interacting and engaging in a meaningful way. What does a memorable first impression looks like?
For example, Disney cast members make the best service impressions through “magical moments,” special experiences and memories unique to each guest. A magical moment may be as simple as a cast member’s going out of his or her way to provide assistance or as involved as building infrastructure that lets us know our guests better. Large or small, the philosophy behind each is to make guests feel like very important individuals.
Learn their individual preferences
We mentioned that not every customer has the same needs and wants. Therefore, you need to learn the individual preferences of each guest. Customers love when we can anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations every time. For example, if a customer is vegetarian, wouldn’t it be memorable if the restaurant manager remembers their preferences and even offered something extra to show he anticipated the customer personal preference.
Surprise and delight
Service excellence boils down to those WOW or magical moments the customer did not expect. Ask yourself, how can I create a memorable moment for my customers today? Customers can take delightful moments with them back home and rave about your company’s customer service. This requires you to go out of your comfort zone and be creative in learning about the customer in a positive way. It does not have to be something grandiose, but memorable enough to WOW the customer when they least expect it.
How will you treat your customers like VIPs today? I would love to hear your stories.