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Derek Stockley is a training and performance management consultant based in Melbourne, Australia. He conducts in-house and public training courses.(Google+).

This free High Performance Newsletter article explores how staff can provide exceptional service through the anticipation of the needs of customers.

It is easy to provide exceptional service - staff need to try harder by anticipating customer needs

Hotels often provide good and bad customer service experiences.

I recently stayed four nights in the same interstate hotel. Eventually, I needed to do some laundry. I checked the hotel guide. I decided to use the 'do-it-yourself' facilities in the basement. The guide informed me I could obtain washing powder from the reception desk on the ground floor.

I went to reception and paid $1.10 for the powder sachet with some coins. I then proceeded to the basement where I encounted the traditional Maytag washer with the coin insert slots - three one dollar coins were required. I checked my pocket full of coins. Lots of $2 coins, 50 cents, 20 cents etc, but no one dollar coins.

Annoyed, I went back up to reception, obtained the coins, then returned to the basement.

My point? The hotel had two opportunities to advise me of the $1 coins requirement. Firstly, the hotel guide could have told me. More importantly, the receptionist could have told me when I bought the powder. All she had to say was: "Do you have three $1 coins for the machine? If not, I can change some money for you now."

Exceptional customer service is easy if you think about it. What happened to me must have happened before to other hotel guests. Someone needed to take note and introduce it as a rule:

When a customer buys washing powder or enquires about the washing/drying facilities, advise them about the coins required.

I would have appreciated this minor attention to detail.

Based on every day encounters with guests, hotels could have lots of these 'customer service rules' that they develop over time.

Summary

The most effective organisations learn from their experiences. They expect their staff to think about their day-to-day transactions. They have team meetings where staff can highlight typical customer service situations. Staff are expected to consistently ask themselves: "Can I do more for this customer in this situation?"

This emphasis on a customer service culture has many benefits. Obviously, customer service improves. Morale and motivation are also positively affected. The challenge in customer service is achieving 100% all the time.

Related reading

Exceptional customer service is defined and explained at: Exceptional customer service.

Although this article is specifically about customer service, other articles under the following topics may also be useful:

To review the newsletter, see: Listing of recent newsletter articles. All articles relate to a performance theme, but individual newsletters cover a specific topic. Themes include customer service, leadership, management, website marketing and time management. You can see all articles in chronological order at: Listing of newsletter articles in chronological order.

You can publish this article, see: Publication.

Derek Stockley conducts in-house customer service training and consulting, see customer service training and consulting.

Derek Stockley conducts public training courses in both Melbourne and Sydney, Australia.



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