Hotel Online  Special Report

What is Customer Service Like at the Level
of Creating Memorable Experiences
How Do You Create It? What Does it Look Like?
By Peter McAlpine, May 2006

There is now growing recognition in the hospitality industry that providing customer service at the level of customer satisfaction is no longer acceptable, and that creating truly memorable experiences (CTME) is the minimum standard. But what does service at this level look like, and how do you create it? 

CTME is a very spiritual and creative level of service, which has little to do with what one encounters in so many 5-star hotels. It is not simply about improving standards, providing more technology, and doing the same things even better. It is a level in which service is infused with love, care, warmth, empathy, and creativity. Everything you do touches people’s hearts, including mundane tasks, such as responding to “How are you?” and placing a cup of coffee next to guest. Everything is a memorable experience.

You know when a hotel is providing service at the level of CTME because it’s in the eyes of the leaders and staff, like in Celine Dione’s song The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”. It’s in the body language, like in Ronan Keating’s song When You Say Nothing At All. The leaders and staff feel about their guests like in The Corrs’ song Everybody Hurts Sometimes. Above all, you feel it. There is a light in their eyes and face that shows an attitude, “Whose heart can I touch now?” or “Where can I create a truly memorable experience?” The staff do things spontaneously to touch the hearts of the guests; things which often they have never been allowed to do before or dared to do. 

Their goal is not just to provide service, but to touch the guests’ hearts. Every guest’s! The intangibles of service play a far greater role here than ever before in the hotel industry. There are probably no manuals for this level of service, which is a good thing. This is the age of creating experiences and touching hearts. People don’t remember what you do or say, but they remember the feelings you create.

This level can only be achieved by accepting that certain well established ideas and methods have to be abandoned. For a hotel to upgrade itself to this level it has to do quite a few things, too many to mention here. These are some of them:

  1. Hotels should review their core values because CTME is about love, care,  warmth, empathy, and creativity. Hotels cannot leave out any one of these.
  2. Corporate Offices and management teams should do what they perhaps have  never done before, namely discuss, “How can we increase the spirit of love in our hotel(s)?” 
  3. The concept (and name) of the Training Department needs to be changed. You cannot achieve this level by focusing only on the material, rational side of your staff and improving knowledge and skills. To develop in your staff love, care, warmth, empathy, and creativity you have to focus on people’s spiritual nature. The way you  do this is very different and involves activities and methods that touch the hearts of the leaders and staff. This is no longer just training, but rather also spiritual capacity development.  
  4. The HR systems will have to be adapted to support this level of service. Indeed, the concept of the HR Department has to change. 
The direction of customer service globally is that it will become a more and more spiritual experience, with an ever stronger focus on the core values of love, care, warmth, empathy and creativity. The often huge gap in the experience provided by city hotels and resorts will close significantly. The next level of service will be to create an even deeper kind of experience and to fulfill the dreams of guests, which again will be different, but hotels will have to create a strong foundation first in CTME in order to get there.

Working and staying in a hotel will never have been so much fun!

Peter McAlpine is the Senior Consultant at Renaissance Consulting Ltd. in Bangkok. The company specializes in pre-opening 5-star city hotels and resorts at the level of creating truly memorable experiences; upgrading customer service to this level; and inspiring hotel staff.

Renaissance Consulting Ltd.
99/192 Mubahn Place and Park
Soi 90, Tanon Pracha Uthit
Ampheur Prasamuthchedi
Samuthprakarn, Thailand
Tel/Fax: +66-2-461-5164; +66-7-054-8813

Also See: Your Experience Is The Brand; Good Hospitality, Food and Service Are Merely Entry Points into Being Competitive / Rick Hendrie / November 2004

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