Lately, I find myself reminiscing about my hospitality days. For a number of years, we’ve read about research providing proof that it’s the Customer Experience (or CX in short) making the difference in coming out on top or not. In their 2005 report, Bain & Company point out that, in general, companies struggle with the delivery gap. I can’t help but time-lapsing back to my hotel & management college years. All we spoke about was the gap model; it’s that difference between what a guest (your customer) expects and the(ir) perception of the service they actually receive. Whichever ‘gap’ we discuss here; bridging it enables anyone to exceed expectations (and come out on top!).
Apart from a love for fine food and wine, I initially chose a hospitality career because of the opportunity to practise service excellence. To this day, I am passionate about exceeding customer expectations, albeit in another industry. I do get weak knees when I see companies doing it right too.
Take Swapfiets; they realised I needed something before I did myself! By going around with what I like to call a ‘bike butler service’ (for free!) they proactively take care of minor repairs such as fixing a light, greasing a chain, or in this case putting extra air in my tires. What an excellent service!
So, here I am reminiscing and I believe we can all still learn a great deal by looking towards the hospitality industry. Some are with me, such as Mercedes Benz’ previous US CEO, Steve Cannon. He started looking towards the likes of Fours Seasons, Ritz Carlton and Mandarin Oriental in order to improve Mercedes’ customer experience program.
By now, most of us at least believe in the fact that it should all be about the customer and CX. With ample believers in the corporate world, the actual number of achievers however absolutely lacks. This is once again underpinned by Gartner’s inverted pyramid; marketing leaders recognize that their companies will mostly, if not completely, compete on the basis of CX in two years. However, only a fraction state that their efforts have exceeded the actual expectations.
I was lucky enough to start my professional career at a Marriott hotel. When he started the company (as a root beer stand!) back in 1927, Mr. Marriott realized that only excellent service could set him apart from any competition. Something in this approach was spot on, judging by Forbes.
This company manages to offer an equally excellent experience at every single outlet. In fact, you will know it, the minute you walk into a Marriott hotel. All the same, Swapfiets has been very recognisable on the Dutch roads with their bright-blue-tired-bikes popping up everywhere. They have a strong brand promise and manage to execute it well.
As an email marketer, you too want your customers to recognise your brand and associate it with at the very least ‘very warm feelings’ right? Curious how CloseAlert can help you setting yourself apart from the competition?