I always admire Shep and his unique perspective on customer service. This latest blog of his resonated in many ways, mostly it made me think about what my company does to enhance the customer experience. Most of us rely on what happens during a pitch (custom placemats, a piece of chocolate with their logo, maybe food if we are doing the pitch in person). Or, after the project…a nicely written thank you note, or a gift basket ordered from your favorite gift basket place. Now, with Shep’s experience in mind, I would ask you to ask yourself (and your teams) how you could adapt this marvelous example to your efforts.
He’s right. You can find out everything you need to know about your client through all social media and Wikipedia. So why are we not customizing our reach-outs with those learnings in the forefront. If nothing else, it gives you things to talk about. I will surmise that this research takes time, and we all run out of time, don’t we? Yet we’ll follow our friends on Facebook and Instagram for more time per day than it would take to learn about our clients’ hobbies, favorite activities, food and more.
I have a lot of thinking to do. Give a read to Shep’s blog and think along with me.
How to Create a Very Personalized Customer Experience
I just stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Lansing, Michigan. I’ve stayed at many Crowne Plazas in the past, and they are nice hotels, however, the experience at this one was quite unique. It was a personalized experience, and the way they went about it is an excellent lesson we all can learn from.
First, the concept of personalization is to make the customer feel like the experience is somewhat unique to them. If I’ve stayed in a hotel and made a special request, the hotel may note that in my record, and the next time I stay at that hotel, they might remember the request so I don’t have to ask.
What the Crowne Plaza Lansing did was different. Before I go any further, you need to know a little about me. You probably know I travel around the world delivering keynote speeches on customer service and experience. I log about 150,000 miles a year as a “road warrior.” I also have hobbies. I do card tricks and magic. I also play guitar. So, now that you have some background, here’s the story.
When I walked into my room, I noticed a note with a shoe shine kit. It was handwritten and read: This will work wonders on the shoes of a road warrior. Then I noticed some beer. Not just any beer, but a special brand called Double Magician and Staff Magician. I’d never heard of these brands, but apparently, it was a local brand. I also noticed a guitar. A note next to that read: We heard about your hobby. Thought you might enjoy making a little music during your stay! From your friends at the Crowne Plaza. WOW!
And, finally, when I returned to my room that night there was not the customary mint that some hotels leave on the pillow. There was a plastic top hat with a chocolate bunny in it – as in the magician’s rabbit in the hat trick! Holy cow! Actually… Holy chocolate bunny!
So, I had to find out who was responsible for this and say thanks for this unbelievable experience. That person is Robin Goodenough, and she and the Crowne Plaza team are amazing. What did they do? Simple. They Googled my name and found my profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. It was easy for them to see what my interests were. From there, they wowed me with a personalized experience.
Some may find what the Crown Plaza team did to be a little “spooky.” I didn’t. If anyone posts something on a social channel like Facebook or LinkedIn, they should anticipate that others will see it. And, using the information posted for the purposes of creating an amazing and personalized customer experience, well there’s nothing wrong with that.
Thank you to my friends at Crowne Plaza Lansing! You created a truly memorable experience. Can’t wait to come back and visit you again!
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken