Best Practices and up to the minute news on Customer Experience Management and Service Excellence

7 Hallmarks of Amazing Service

What the best customer service experiences have in common.

Top-notch customer service looks effortless, but it takes great thought and skill to deliver this type of service with ease. Whether you’re soothing a cranky guest who had trouble checking in on the hotel app or you’re helping to create a stellar stay for a happy couple on their honeymoon, standout service moments share various characteristics in common.

Providing amazing service is a win-win for you and your guests. “The best hotels know that good hotel customer service is ideal for increasing revenue, but it’s also very helpful for brand development and customer retention,” Maria Waida states on the site for Social Tables, which offers event management software for properties.

Here are 7 hallmarks of amazing hotel service and how to make sure you’re considering them next time you have an opportunity to “wow” a guest:

  1. Listening with empathy. One of the top characteristics of great customer service is active listening. This means pausing, focusing on the customer, truly hearing their words and paraphrasing to make sure you understand the situation. You can listen with empathy when making small talk, noting down a guest request, fielding a question or resolving a complaint.
  2. Offering sincerity. Customers can feel a hollow or insincere interaction, so great customer service means treating each customer with sincerity. You can be sincere when wishing a guest good morning, when asking if they need anything else or when apologizing for a problem they experienced. For example: one of the tenets of service at Ritz-Carlton properties is a warm and sincere greeting using the guest’s name.
  3. Putting yourself in the customer’s place. When interacting with a customer, try to see the situation through the customer’s eyes. This means asking yourself what you would feel, want or need in this moment if you were in the customer’s position. For example, a customer arriving for a late check-in after a grueling day of travel may want quick help and soothing words. On the other hand, a couple walking into a hotel restaurant for a birthday dinner may be looking for a warm greeting, acknowledgement of the occasion and a little special treatment.
  4. Tapping into the emotion of the moment. People who are truly skilled at customer service understand the importance of emotion: both how a customer is feeling in the moment and how they may want to feel. For example, a tired business traveler who checked into a room next door to a rowdy family on vacation may feel annoyed and frustrated, and he may want to feel calm, peaceful and relaxed. Understanding the underlying emotions can help you deliver customer service that resonates with the guest and ultimately delivers their desired feeling.
  5. Being proactive. Many customers feel awkward bringing up a complaint or concern with customer service. As many as 90 percent of customers don’t broach problems at all. And those who do may not want to ask for a discount or other perk to help make up for an issue they experienced. The best customer service means coming up with and proactively offering solutions to make the guest happy.
  6. Focusing on the details. Details matter, especially when it comes to delivering excellent customer service. Paying attention to detail can help you delight a new customer, impress a repeat customer or offer a solution that improves the customer experience. An example of attention to detail could be folding the toilet paper in a guest room or offering a guest an umbrella when it’s raining.
  7. Knowing when to call in a manager. It can be very frustrating for a customer to go around and around on an issue without getting a quick solution. Many guests may be shy, or simply embarrassed to ask for a manager. You can go above and beyond simply by recognizing when you might not have the authority to offer the right solution. In that case, taking proactive action to call in a manager can mean a lot to a guest.

If you consider the hallmarks of good service, it may be easier to put them into action across various guest service scenarios in your hotel.