The Importance of Creating Legendary Customer Experiences
By John Ely Senior Vice President of Marketing, Signature Worldwide | October 28, 2008
A new trend is shaping customer service, and it goes well beyond simply providing what guests expect. Today, customer service is being measured against a guest's experience in total - all of your guest's interactions with your company, your facilities, your products, your services and, most importantly, your people.
While customer experience has fast become the industry's new buzz phrase, most are still having a difficult time differentiating between good customer service and a legendary customer experience. The following story helps separate the two.
In my previous job, I was responsible for a project that involved bringing the company's 200 largest clients to the corporate office to get to know the senior management, tour our facilities and learn more about our new products. As part of the tour, I brought the guests in a day early and took them out for a nice dinner with our senior managers.
On the surface, the mere scheduling seemed daunting. Each of our clients would send multiple representatives, and I scheduled up to four clients on any particular tour. Also, I had as many as five or six colleagues joining us for dinner, which meant I was responsible for more than 50 corporate dinners that included anywhere from 12 to 20 people.
For my own sanity, I created a rotation of four restaurants. The first round of dinners went just as planned. All of the restaurants served fantastic food, had great atmospheres and offered quick and attentive service. For all practical reasons, I was completely satisfied. Then came my second trip to the first restaurant in the rotation, which made clear the difference (and value) in creating a legendary customer experience versus simply satisfying me.
Upon entering the host said, "Welcome back Mr. Ely, we're glad to see you again. The last time you were here, we noticed you had a large party, and it seemed to be business related." The host went on to say, "I saw on the reservation that you had a party of 15 tonight, so I reserved one of our small banquet rooms for you at no extra charge. I thought this would create a better atmosphere."