Customer Service Excellence: Find a Way to Make It Happen

Finding a way to make it happen always results in excellent customer service.

Just say yes“As long as it is legal, ethical, and moral, find a way to make it happen”.

That was the directive which was programmed into my brain very early in my career. I remember it vividly. It was on my first day of work at new employee orientation at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas in 1996.

The general manager passionately spoke about the need “to move heaven and earth to delight” our guests and creating memorable experiences everyday.

Although I worked in a luxury property before, it was obvious that this was another level of service excellence altogether.

I love exceptional service, and I love people who are passionate about giving exceptional service. No matter where I’ve traveled, it is obvious that the most dedicated professionals, regardless of the request or the industry, find a way to make it happen.

Breakfast Buffet

On a recent trip to Jamaica, I was having dinner and asked the server if Ackee & Saltfish (Jamaican culinary staple) would be on the breakfast buffet the following morning.

Legal? = Yes

Ethical? = Yes

Moral? = Yes

The server told me that Ackee & Saltfish is only featured on the Sunday breakfast buffet; however, she will ensure that it would be available for me the following morning. Sure enough, when I went to breakfast, the hostess greeted me by name, then introduced me to my assigned server, who told me that the dish would be served to me shortly. Find a way to make it happen.

Pepperoni Pizza

Years ago, when I was a hotel concierge, a guest asked if it would be possible to get a Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza for dinner that evening.

Legal? = Yes

Ethical? = Yes

Moral? = Yes

Unfortunately, the closest Pizza Hut was 20 minutes away, and scheduled to close at 9PM that evening. It was now 8:45PM! I immediately called Pizza Hut to see if they would be willing to make the pizza and I would personally pick it up. They said “Yes”, and I was able to pick up the pizza and have it delivered to the guest’s room. Find a way to make it happen.

One Customer

Some people view the number “1” as an insignificant number. One of anything is not enough. In the business sense, having “only” one customer might be considered dismal. On the contrary, by learning how to cherish that one customer, you will learn how to attract and retain many more.

By not slowing down, appreciating and being thankful for one, we miss the true beauty of how fortunate we actually are. Sometimes having no customers is the best medicine to re-focus on how important one customer is. Honor that one customer… give thanks for that one customer… promise yourself to never take that one customer for granted ever again. Find a way to keep that one customer happy and engaged.

In the case of service excellence, imagine if you and your team only had one customer to serve for the next week. (Financially, your team has enough money so the business is not in danger of shutting down.) How would your team cherish that one customer? I would imagine that you would:

  • Be grateful for that customer’s patronage (and tell him/her so)
  • Have a sense of urgency and be eager to serve
  • Learn that customer’s preferences, then act on them Not only comply, but anticipate that customer’s needs

Understand that even though you have a lot of service and attentiveness to give, that, ultimately, service is about what THAT customer wants (which, in some cases, may be to leave him/her alone)

I firmly believe that by truly understanding the importance of honoring “one” customer, then the patronage of many will soon follow.

In truth, it doesn’t really matter what the request is, or the industry, or the time of day. As long as the request is legal, ethical and moral, begin by assuming that you can, in fact, make it happen. Just make it happen. Find a way. That is the true beauty and splendor of service excellence. That is what transforms the simple touchpoint into one with heart and soul. Value, cherish and honor that touchpoint. Take it as your personal mission to find a way… any way… to make it happen for every customer.

As long as it is legal, ethical, and moral:

  • Never say “no”
  • Suggest alternative options
  • Assume that you can accommodate the request

By consistently doing so, you will notice an increased vitality in your work (and life). No request or complaint will seem insurmountable. You may actually begin to look forward to requests, just to see how you can challenge yourself to make it happen. In the end, the ultimate benefactor will be the customer, and THAT, above all else, is why we find a way.

About the Author

Dr. Bryan K. Williams is a consultant, trainer, and author, who focuses on the areas of service excellence and organizational effectiveness.

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