Do You Offer a Service or an Experience to Your Customers?

While making hotel reservations for an expo that I recently attended, I learned that the host hotel was booked to capacity. There were, however, rooms at the INN. Call me a snob, but convenience was the least of my requirements, and after lengthy conversation with a very helpful reservation specialist we came full circle and my reservation was made … at the INN. After all, I convinced myself, it was really just a place to lay my head and get a good night’s sleep.

On the ride up, I imagined a shoe-box size room, no amenities, off-site dining and overall poor service. I arrived to find just the opposite. The lobby was complete with comfortable chairs and a cozy fireplace. The full-service restaurant was in full swing and the lounge was open. I was greeted by a very cordial and accommodating desk clerk who promptly processed my reservation, offered me a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie, and called my attention to the restaurant voucher that accompanied my room key in the folio. I was pointed in the direction of the elevators, which were just before the indoor pool and hot tub … nice. And although the INN was not my first choice, I enjoyed a positive experience and I will definitely stay with them again.

I was reminded of that experience again this week during our monthly agent Skill Building Series – Create Your Brand. Our featured speaker, Mike Staver , drove home the point that providing the customer with a positive service experience is different than customer service and further, that the service experience criteria is different for each customer. Mike offered three questions to consider:

· Does what you offer matter to the particular customer?

· How is what you do different?

· Do you help your customer feel better about their decision?

Consider these truths about today’s consumer: they are brand conscious and they believe that they are at the center of the universe; then ask, “How do I create positive service experiences?”

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