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The Customer Experience

The Customer path, at times, is like walking a bull through a china shop. There are narrow twists and turns line the experience along the way and in the process you hope nothing gets broken.

As in the my china shop example; the path to follow is difficult for your employees engaged in the Customer Experience (CE.) It is layered strewn with both predictable and unpredictable moments that can either fracture or enhance a the customer experience.

What narrow twists and turns define your customer’s experience? How strong is your employee’s dedication to guide them? I recently questioned a group of my Hospitality Master students on what a ‘Great Customer Service Experience’ meant to them.

I heard phrases like: “Memorable, sometimes beginning with a smile-linking to a unique adventure and culminating with a desire to experience it again.”

One student posted this: “We in hospitality understand the basic needs of our guests but how do you define those moments that truly will mark the experience? How do we define the experience as “unique” making it customised to the guest?”

This is my favourite: “It is when an organization has taken the care to educate each of their employees and empower them with the tools and autonomy to execute great customer service at each and every encounter.” Give that critically thinking student an A!

“Exceeding guest expectations while providing a memorable experience. Sometimes you may only get one chance to provide a great service moment…” Obviously this student understands that each employee may only have one chance to offer that customer the expected experience.

“Great service is what sets brands apart and sets a standard to be maintained…” This student defines the brand identity and that consistent “thread” of linkage in the customer service experience.

To achieve a successful Customer Experience there must be the application of a consistent model that both challenges the boundaries of the traditional “CE” as well as tugs at raising attempting to raise the experience bar for the customer. The property presentations are about great teams of employees all operating on the same consistent company message and driven by executives that “get it.”

These property leaders continually offer employees education programmes and empowerment opportunities to motivate and energise them to meet guest expectations.

Understand that any marketer can bring a customer to the door, but it’s what takes place between the customer and employee within that Customer Service Experience that will pave the road for a return visit.

By the way, the bull made it safely through the china shop - this time…

Bob Ambrose, Instructor, Gaming & Hospitality Center for Hospitality & Sport Management, Drexel UIniversity