Expect the Unexpected

by | Nov 15, 2020

Creating a service culture that delivers exceptional customer experiences is essential in order to build long-term loyalty.

But what is the yellow brick road to building such a culture? How do hotels create a framework that leads to WOW moments? One of my favourite WOW stories took place with Mandarin Oriental Tokyo many years ago.

Upon completing my second client appointment (in an office, 30 minutes away from the hotel), I was greeted by a uniformed bellman holding a silver tray with an envelope. After I courteously accepted the goods – my updated list of appointments for the week – the bellman graciously bowed and left as discreetly as he had come.

While I was very surprised but extremely impressed with Mandarin Oriental, my client was awe-struck with me! I still don’t know who made the decision to deliver an incoming message to me in person and not to my room, away from the hotel. Not only that, Mandarin Oriental’s Inspector Clouseau had figured out where I was in a city of nine million people.

I have often thought about this experience in the context of a service culture. Creating such a foundation starts with being clear about where you want to go. Bringing onboard a team that wants to go in the same direction as you, and who will, collectively and collaboratively, walk with you.

The challenge is that shaping such a fluid entity, one in which people feel that they belong, are valued and well treated, requires time, commitment and persistence. It starts with hiring the right people; sharing a vision, with clarity and inspiration; providing a framework; empowering individuals; and then supportively communicating, listening and problem solving. All in the interest of the guest and the team.

The yellow brick road is long and steep and difficult. But not taking this path is no longer an option, in my view. In the long-run it doesn’t make business sense. Guests will continue to want meaningful encounters and to expect more from every interaction. This can only happen when a genuine luxury service culture is at the forefront of the organisation’s strategy.

So have you built a team that dreams about providing outstanding service? Is your team committed to going an extra mile? Are you walking together in order to create a loyal following?

Many years ago, one such enthusiastic and devoted Aman follower even coined a name for this group: Amanjunkies.

Amanjunkies: there is no better compliment than when a guest satisfied beyond expectations nickname your tribe!!