Have you ever gone shopping to a particular store knowing in advance that they don’t have what you want? Of course not, very few people would waste their time.
A guest at a Whistler hotel writes a review in response to a semi sleepless night because of the night club and partying good time atmosphere that surrounds the property. The assistant manager responds in writing, apologizes to the guest and addresses each issue directly. The guest writes back and says the following:
Thanks for your response; it’s great to hear that you and your hotel take the time to make sure your guests are happy and to explain ways to improve things in the future. For that reason alone I would happily recommend your hotel to others, albeit recommend they book the quiet side 😉
We did enjoy the hotel, the rooms were fantastic and the staff could not have been better.
What turned it around for the guest? He felt someone cared about him and his issues and the assistant manager responded with concern and empathy.
There are two kinds of results all customers experience tangible and intangible. Tangible results are real, we can pick them up, wear them drive them, take them to the bank and buy things. They include completed projects or deadlines met. They are easily measured.
Intangible results are less tangible; they are how we feel about the tangible results above or how we feel we were served when we received the tangible results. They are more challenging to measure, but they are measurable if we believe this statement is true; “perception is reality.”
A customer’s perception about how they are served by an employee or business is critical. If the customer feels the employee is indifferent or negative or unhelpful then that shapes their experience of the service, and no matter how good the tangible may be, the customer leaves with a bad taste. On the other hand if the employee is understanding, empathetic, responsive, helpful and optimistic then the customer leaves with a much more positive experience that influences how excellent they felt the service was, and how they were served can overcome a perceived less than acceptable tangible result.
Back to the hotel guest; the assistant manager was understanding, empathetic, helpful and optimistic, which helped the guest reevaluate their experience at the hotel. As he said the rooms were fantastic and the staff couldn’t have been better, and once he got his intangible needs met it helped him overcome the disappointing part of his stay.
When a hotel guest checks out they leave with only one tangible result, the bill – unless of course they steal something. Excellent Customer Service at a hotel is all about meeting or exceeding a guest’s intangible needs, it’s only about enhancing their experience during the stay.
Meeting or exceeding customers’ needs or expectations is all about the intangible results. Employees at all levels tell me that they don’t pay enough attention or make customers’ intangible needs important enough, and that the tangible results are more important. (Employees care less about the customer)
Let’s be clear that the minimum expectation a customer has in any business or government office is to have their tangible needs met. The value of the service is usually in the experience they have of getting their tangible needs filled.
The old saw says, it’s not what you do but how you do it. This is a simple and accurate way to describe what most customers want, “meet my tangible and intangible needs and you will win my loyalty and support in return.”
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