Who is the Round Peg For Your Hotel's Square Hole?
By Bonnie Knutson Professor, The School of Hospitality Business/MSU | April 19, 2015
Having just finished presenting a seminar on delighting the customer, I was standing at the front of a large room, taking off the lavaliere microphone, putting my laptop and other materials in my briefcase. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted one of the attendees walking, very purposely, up to me. I could tell by the look in his eye that he either had a question or disagreed with a point I had made. Either way, I figured we would be having an interesting conversation. After the usual obligatory introductions, he cocked his head slightly to the left, pointed his finger towards me, and said, "I don't believe in all this delighting stuff; I just give the customer what he expects. No more, no less."
"Oh," I asked, "Why is that?"
"Because if you start trying to delight customers, you just have to do more. You end up adding to your costs, which takes away from your profits. And the more you do, the more they expect. I stick to the basics."
In a way, I couldn't argue with him. There are two things that the attendee missed, however. The first is to understand exactly what delight is. While our friend, the dictionary, has several definitions for delight, basically, it means making someone really happy. In business, delight has taken on a narrower meaning that is closely aligned with the term, lagniappe. If you go back in history, lagniappe entered our lexicon from Louisiana French and Spanish phrases that meant giving a free item, usually very inexpensive. Throughout the years, it has come to mean "a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase…an unexpected...benefit." The operative words here, are inexpensive and unexpected.
The second thing that the attendee missed is the cost aspect. If you have never seen The Simple Truth of Service video clip, I've placed it below so you can check it out...