Leisure & Hospitality International - Spring 2015 - 53

Customer service is not enough. In fact, it is two steps behind.
Let me explain. You see, I am a soap-stealer. There, I said it. If
I am going to pay $200 for the hotel room, then I am taking the
unopened soap. That was until my wife revolted at my effort to
corner the hotel soap market. "Don't bring home any more until you do something with those," she said, pointing to a box of
soaps individually wrapped in beige and white.
As I was walking past that box, I realized
two things. One, my thievery victims
knew that I would take their soap. And
two, they planned on it. They purposely
packaged their soap to move ahead of
all the competition in an effort to move
beyond customer service and into customer experience.
Customer service for a hotel is a
clean, warm room with a bathroom
stocked with a few amenities. Customer experiences takes this to a
higher level. Special mattress toppers,
concierges, minibars, specialty soaps,
and even lavender pillow spritzers for
a deep night's sleep. All this to one-up
the competition.
Today, customer service is the ante to
get into the game, but even customer
experience is becoming the expectation.
We expect the morning paper in the
lobby. We expect the exercise room. We
expect cable TV.
So what comes after customer experiences? What will the future look like?

GOING BEYOND
Business charisma is that special relationship past the customer experience.

It creates a personal relationship. It is
so powerful that we buy souvenirs to
commemorate it.
Take, for example, the souvenir t-shirts
at Five Guys (ketchup and mustard stains
optional and applied by the customer), Disney and Harley-Davidson. Their
customers become champions, singing
the praises of their charisma, literally,
with the clothes on their back. Charisma
in business means the customer doesn't
see a substitute or alternative.
Richard Teerlink, the once-CEO of Harley-Davidson ,was explaining this brand
value when he shared that the government mistakenly thinks the company
sells motorcycles.
"What we sell is the ability for a
43-year-old accountant to dress in black
leather, ride though small towns and
have people be afraid of him," the CEO
once noted.
Business charisma time-travels with
the customer. The Harley-Davidson
owner buys a time when things were a
little more rebellious and free. That bag
of french fries at Five Guys invites you to
a time when you were not worried about
clogged arteries.

So how do organizations become
charismatic? One example can be found
using "the 40's" theory.
Author Robert Brinkerhoff of Western
Michigan University studies the impact
of training and development. He found
that only 20 percent of the power of
education occurs when the student is
in front of the teacher. His research
shows that 40 percent of the impact
occurs before and 40 percent after the
education event.
What if you asked yourself, "How might
we influence the customer before they interact with us and afterward?" How could
you extend your customer relationship
beyond your current transaction?
Back to the box of soaps. There in the
middle of the white and beige wrappings were several jet-black boxes. They
wanted their soap to stand out. They
knew the customer would steal the soap,
and so they positioned them to send a
marketing message in the future. The
package had Mickey Mouse ears that
reminded you to "come baaa-aaack."
Remember how much fun you had last
time you did a Disney vacation?
You don't need to steal the soap. But
you will need to steal the ideas of charismatic businesses.
Kordell Norton, CSP, works
with organizations that want
to increase their sales and
improve customer service by
making their businesses charismatic. He
can be reached at www.kordellnorton.
com or 440-744-4864.

The National Hotel P.54 / Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants P.58 / Electro-Media Design P.60 / Renaissance Dallas Hotel P.63 /
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel P.66/ Gasparilla Inn & Club P.69 / Greystone Hotels P.72 / Bespoke Hotels P.75 / G6 Hospitality P.78 /
Marin Management P.81 / Sheraton Steamboat Resort & Villas P.84 /
Spring 2015 LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY INTERNATIONAL | WWW.LHIMAGAZINE.COM

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