Customer Service – It Has to Be a Part of Your Business DNA
Escaping your normal, everyday life and surroundings is always a superb opportunity to draw some lessons from your new and interesting environments. I have done this on previous overseas trips, and have had the opportunity to do so again this week.
I have been in Bali for a week, attending an Author’s Retreat hosted by the Smallville Mayor, Andrew Griffiths. (After 3 years in my head, my book is definitely going to see the light of day in 2017).
So what did I find to inspire me this week? Customer Service. The beautiful Balinese people are probably the best in the world at exuding customer satisfaction and service in everything they do. It’s a part of their cultural DNA.
My Bali welcome
I have been to Bali previously, and this visit has reminded me why I miss it so much. The tropics, the beach, and most of all, the people.
I don’t know why, but flights from Australia always seem to arrive in Bali very late at night. By the time the driver deposited me at the resort, it was well past midnight, and the wave of Balinese heat was engulfing me to the point of drowning. All I wanted was a shower and a very cold Bintang.
After being swamped by people who whisked away all my luggage, I was invited to sit on a huge, comfy and ornate seat in front of a reception desk. None of this standing up to check in that we have to put up with at home. The receptionist made me feel as though I were being interviewed for the position of Queen – so polite and respectful he was.
Maybe this is how celebrities are treated all the time, but it was wonderful to be treated so respectfully – after midnight – when I’m sure the whole lot of us would have preferred to be snoring peacefully in our beds. Magically, a glass of delicious, cold iced tea appeared – complete with some fresh mint – which I gladly dispatched very quickly. I thought about asking for a second glass of iced tea, but I knew that such a request would trigger a massive flurry of activity involving at least half a dozen people, so I refrained.
The receptionist carefully explained every facility at the resort in considerable detail. I was certainly not going to miss out just because I happened to arrive at midnight, and I was eventually escorted to my room where that cold Bintang awaited me.
Setting a high bar for customer service
My arrival at the resort definitely set a high bar for customer service, but there was not the slightest hint of slackening standards during my entire stay. Without fail, every single Balinese person I interacted with was cheerful, polite, and ready to do what they could to make my stay memorable.
At one stage, I overheard an irate guest arguing with a receptionist because the notification of her restaurant charge hadn’t yet arrived at reception, and she wanted to check out. Even in the face of what I considered to be extremely rude behaviour, the receptionist remained calm, pleasant and helpful.
And the excellent customer service was not confined to our beautiful, beach-side resort. Eating at every little restaurant we frequented was a joy. The spa I sneaked away to for my daily massage was staffed by Balinese women who were not only amazing masseurs, but were genuinely delighted to welcome me every day. I even got a hug after my last massage.
Our own customer service veneer
I know that sometimes we all find ourselves in situations where we would gladly throttle a customer who is being particularly difficult. We get tired, or we get stressed, and the customer service veneer starts to slip a little. Maybe that happens to the Balinese as well, but I certainly didn’t see it. It seems to me that there is no veneer to slip in Bali. Customer service is at the centre of their culture – a part of their DNA.
When I arrive home, I’m going to print out a photo from my writers retreat in Bali, and put it above my desk as a permanent reminder that customer service must always, always be at the heart of my business as well.
I’ve got plenty of photos to share around if anyone else would like one for their own office.
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