Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of staying at a brand-spankin new hotel, two days after they opened the doors. I didn’t plan to be their thirteenth guest, it just happened. How fun for me!
The parking lot was sparkly and all the landscaping perfectly-manicured. The lobby smelled like fresh paint and new carpet. The staff stood behind the counter and were smiling. Widely. They were excited to see me. All their attention was on me.
That was the moment that it occurred to me to inquire, “Did you just open?’ “Yes!” They all exclaimed- “Monday!”
In that moment, I was instantly both excited and a little sad. You see, I had just come from a three-day conference where I led focused sessions on hospitality and guest services. So, I was secretly hoping the service I was experiencing was genuine and unique. It was probably genuine, but it is most likely temporary. Nerve-enduced attention. And, I’m okay with that. It was a fine experience.
I’ve come to expect a certain level of service from hotels and other hospitality providers. Occasionally I am overwhelmed with expertise and accommodations, but usually, I am-(how to say this nicely?)- satisfied.
Satisfaction is good. But it isn’t a goal. Because, how can we possibly know the extent to which some guests will require being completely satisfied with their experience? Not always is that information clear. But what is clear is genuine care and attention.
It only takes a single visit to a Starbucks to know that the priority has been placed on speed and drink accuracy. That’s good. And that would make most customers “satisfied”. But is it enough? For a while, perhaps- or at least until someone opens a coffee shop that provides exceptional customer-focused service. Today, I look for coffee shops where the barista (not wearing a headset), is willing to engage in a conversation. I want to know about the coffee’s origins, I want the expert’s advice on the best brewing process for a particular roasted bean. (Thank you, Stone Creek Coffee)
Start Start Start Start Well
What if every day was a start? What if each day was a new gift? What if we treated every day like it was the first?
Maybe if we begin looking at every day from the customer perspective, it would change our outlook. After all, it is new to them.