A New Customer Service Experience. May 2007

By | May 31, 2007

Last week found me on a business trip staying at The Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong. As someone who spends a lot of time in hotels I’m always intrigued around whether I’m going to find anything new in my customer experience.

At the Four Seasons I did find something new – old fashioned service excellence delivered across all aspects of my stay.

Creating a memorable customer experience around a hotel stay isn’t difficult to construct. It starts with getting the basics right.

The Basics Done Brilliantly
The right room is ready for you.
The room is spotlessly clean, with everything working.
The bed is comfortable, the night’s sleep uninterrupted.
All commitments kept around alarm calls, newspaper, breakfast tray, messages etc.
Food is to the standard you would expect.
Check-out quick, bill accurate.
All staff are helpful, knowledgeable and pleasant

First rule of hotel management. Do not focus on offering any extras if the above cannot be delivered, consistently and perfectly. If you do offer more in the absence of this minimum, you will only create higher levels of dissatisfaction. Having a chocolate put on your pillow at bed-time is very nice, but I’d prefer the shower to work as it should.

The Basics Are Then Brilliantly Built On
Every hotel employee you meet greets you with a smile and the appropriate offer of help.
Small extras are included to show how your custom is valued.
Your name is remembered (and used) one day to the next.
People do joined up thinking to make your stay memorable.

At the Four Seasons I found all of this done impeccably. Below are some examples on how they built on the basics (which were delivered brilliantly).

  • As I moved around the hotel I was greeted by members of staff, from chambermaids, to waiters, to people passing in the corridor. All were immaculately turned out and gave the impression (the truth of which is irrelevant) that they enjoyed their work.
  • Two different people used my name on the second day who I had met only briefly the day before.
  • On arrival in my room were small home made chocolates with a note from the manger welcoming me to the hotel.
  • When we broke from the meeting room there was always staff manning the break-out area, prepared to run errands and generally make the break as comfortable and smooth running as possible.
  • My drink of choice was remembered and offered unasked for at the second break.
  • On check-out I left my bags with the concierge ready for an evening departure. On collection they confirmed my car had arrived and was waiting to take me to the airport. When leaving my bags in the morning all I had given them was my name. They joined the dots behind the scenes.

This hotel is not the cheapest place to stay, but I can think of many more expensive ones that don’t come close. My one quibble would be that internet access was extra, it should be included.

So well done the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. A new customer experience created, by simply delivering the fundamentals perfectly, and then building on them with some memorable touches.


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