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Personalize the Customer Experience

There’s one thing that you can do that almost guarantees your customers will want to come back and do business with you.  It’s more than just delivering amazing customer service.  It’s delivering amazing personalized customer service. The goal is to create a personal touch.  This is engagement at a higher level.  In its simplest form, it may be just using the customer’s name. However, some companies have seen such value in personalizing customer service that they’ve taken this concept to higher levels. What prompted me to write about this topic was an article I read in the May 28, 2013, issue of USA Today, which was about how some hotels are personalizing their guests’ wake-up calls.  Most hotels have a wake-up call system that, once set, will automatically phone the guest’s room at the appointed time.  When the guest answers, they typically hear a recorded message.  I’ve always appreciated the extra effort a hotel goes to when, instead of a recorded message, a live person calls you and starts your day off with something pleasant like, “Good Morning Mr. Hyken.  Thanks for staying at our hotel, and we wish you a great day.”

Some hotels are taking this to a higher level.

For example, I’ve answered the phone for an early wake-up call and the employee not only wishes me a great day but also offers to send a complimentary cup of coffee to get my day started. While traveling for business to New York City, I stayed at the Kimpton Muse Hotel, which has taken the personal touch to an even higher level.  Upon check-in, the front desk team built some rapport with me.  I say “team” because there were three people behind the front desk, and since I was the only guest checking in, they all three interacted with me.  They engaged me with simple questions about any dinner reservations I might want to make, my favorite foods and more.  They also noticed that while the meeting I was attending was only three days long, I was staying for five days.  I told them my wife was joining me. Was I ever surprised on Friday night, after my wife arrived, that the hotel sent up a bottle of wine, some fruit and chocolate?  How nice was that!  The staff paid attention and picked up on a piece of knowledge that allowed them to personalize my experience.  But that is not all they did.  There was something else on the tray, and it absolutely blew my mind.  There was a small picture frame, and the picture was of my wife and me! I was… Amazed!  They had obviously gone on a website or my Facebook page and somehow found a picture of us, printed it out and put it in a frame. The Kimpton Muse delivered personalized service.  The staff engaged in conversation, paid attention to what was said, and then took action.  Regardless of the type of business you are in, there is always an opportunity to personalize the customer experience.

Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn. (Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

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