Beyond great guest service: Caring for your guests

Beyond great guest service: Caring for your guests

Whether we’re talking about a global luxury hotel company or budget hotel chain, Bloomingdale’s or Home Depot, each has standards of service it strives to provide. In fact, all businesses — regardless of their industry — want to say they offer superior service, but few ever achieve it. The reality is summed up best in a study by Bain & Company, reported in the Harvard Business Review, which asked customers of 362 larger businesses whether or not their experience was “superior.” Only 8% of customers answered yes, yet 80% of those companies when surveyed replied that they provide a superior customer experience.

This is the level of disconnect that often exists between the larger companies and their customers/guests. And it is why we in the boutique hotel business have an enormous opportunity to differentiate ourselves and take our guest experience to the next level: genuine caring.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines service as a “contribution to the welfare of others” as well as “useful labor that does not produce a tangible commodity.” To care, on the other hand, is “to feel interest or concern.” To put it another way, employees who care not only serve your guests, but also are emotionally invested in your guests’ experience. Therefore, in addition to providing the elements of great service — attending to a guest’s needs quickly, efficiently and accurately — they will take a genuine interest in each guest, anticipating his or her needs and offering, delivering and replenishing items without ever being asked. 

In the boutique hotel world, this alone can create a level of customer loyalty much more powerful than anything our trendy designs, themed properties and unique approaches can accomplish.

I’ll continue to explore this concept over the course of several weeks. In my next blog, we’ll look at the advantages of caring, then move on to training your staff to care and, finally, look at the intangible long-term financial benefits of making the fundamental switch from a service orientation to caring. I hope you’ll stay tuned!