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Service – a cheap and smart way to build an advantage

Great service – it makes the difference between a good hotel and a great hotel. And it comes with a small price tag compared to other investments – and it has a big marketing ROI. It is good PR.

The classic example is the great department store I grew up with in Chicago, Marshall Field’s. They had the reputation that the customer was always right, and you could have returned a shirt to them from another store and they would have still given you your money back.

As old and simple as ”the customer is always right” is –it seems to have been forgotten by many – from United to other big companies- they don’t train or empower their people to make snap decisions to solve a problem.

I took my kids for a snack at a fast food eatery the other day – and they both ordered lemonade – when the food came, they were served iced tea. I took it back, and explained that they had asked for lemonade – and the woman behind the center replied that she had heard iced tea, so that is what she got them. I told her that I had heard them order lemonade– and that as a rule, I tried to keep the kids off caffeinated drinks.

She begrudgingly got me 2 lemonades.

But the cost of a paper glass of water and favoring is so low – I had a hard time understanding why she would argue? Terrible marketing. Poor customer relations…

A few weeks later I was retuning a bunch of stuff to Target for my wife and a few items did not come with a receipt. The woman behind the counter said the magic words “NO Problem.” She processed the return, gave me the full amount back – and was kind and pleasant.

Just like the wait person who checks in every 10 minutes to see if you are ok, or the hotel that offers a comb if you forgot one, to the person at the sandwich shop that is happy to substitute gluten free bread at no extra cost.

The benefit to any business is simple: Training, recognition and good service can often make up for other things.

For years there was a grand hotel that we would visit – and the manger was so wonderful, that you overlooked the worn sheets, old bathrooms, and drafty windows.

So, to that end 5 tips to offer the best service for wonderful marketing ROI:

The customer is always right – start with that beef and work up.

It is not about being right or wrong, but about growing your business.

Go the extra yard – or mile. Ask questions, offer to help – make sure that they walk away satisfied.

Surpass all expectations – don’t go for satisfied – wow their socks off – leave them in awe.

Make every customer aware what you have to offer – amazing service will wow and impress – and create loyalty and word of mouth that has a halo effect.

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