Last month I had the good fortune to stay at the world-famous Savoy hotel in the heart of London (for a special occasion – I haven’t hit the high life quite yet!). I had a brilliant time and one that made me think, too.
What struck me most about my experience at the Savoy – in addition to the art deco style, excellent food and brilliant location – was the superb level of service I experienced throughout my time there. From check-in to check-out I can’t remember one negative interaction with a Savoy employee.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “If you’re paying £400-500 per night for a room, what do you expect?”
Service with sincerity
But of course, it’s not always as simple as that. I’ve stayed at a few other fancy hotels in my time and few of them have been able to deliver a level of service to the standard set by the Savoy. Likewise, I’ve also been to some very nice restaurants and bars whose service has been indifferent at best.
What made the service work so well at the Savoy was the sincerity in which it was carried out. At no point did I feel as though someone was saying ‘hello’, being helpful or simply smiling because they had to – it felt as though they actually meant it – and that really makes a difference.
Building a culture around great customer service
The Savoy (via Fairmont, the hotel’s operator) have consciously built great customer service into the culture, systems and processes of the business. They don’t see customer service as an add-on. Instead, it’s at the heart of the customer experience.
In much the same way as Disney have done at their resorts, the Savoy have made it their mission to ensure that every customer has a memorable experience when they visit the hotel. They’ve successfully leveraged their iconic building, history and focus on the customer to create something special.
Anyone can create a great customer experience
What I often struggle to understand is why more service businesses, especially hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes, for example, can’t take the same approach to customer service as the Savoy.
Regardless of the size of the business it doesn’t cost the Earth to hire the right people and train them to be polite, helpful and smile – at the very least! And it’s really not difficult to ensure that this is carried out consistently in order to provide a great customer experience.
With the rise of review sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and UrbanSpoon, consumers have never had so much information at their disposal. A few bad reviews could be the difference between someone making a booking – or not.
Surely, therefore, it makes more sense than ever to provide a great customer experience that leaves people with no other choice but to write very good things!