customer serviceIt’s easy for people believe they offer customer service. It’s another thing to do it.

Challenge is customer service is a moving target. What it means to one person may not mean anything to another person.

The hospitality industry is built around customer service, and yet even within this industry, there are wide ranges of definitions as to what customer service is.

Let’s put everything aside with regards to “things” and just deal with people. In the end it’s the interaction the customer has with the employee that is going to make or break customer service.

Marriott Corporation is one company that gets it. Yes, I’m biased. According to my account, I’ve stayed with them for more nights than I was in college.   They get it because their employees get it, and they know it’s their interaction with the customer that makes a difference.

There are any number of Marriott properties I could use as an example, but the one I’ll use is my new favorite, the Marriott Hotel on Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Paris.

Recently my wife and I spent several nights with them, and I do mean with them.  Reason is simple — the entire staff, from the doorman to the cleaning employees, treat you as if you’re a guest in their home.

Think about that for a moment. Would an employee have that attitude if they weren’t treated right? No way! You see, customer service starts at the top.

Customer service is the result of the culture of the organization. Again, think about that for a moment and ask yourself to assess your company’s culture.

Does your culture create an atmosphere where employees want to embrace customers?

Marriott does it best with a warm smile, a greeting and body language that shows they care.

Now ask yourself this question: If customer service is output from culture, then how do you act with customers? How do you act with your employees?

In the end, employees mimic what they see. No different than raising kids. If you want courteous kids, you have to be courteous yourself.

Customer service is not complicated. It’s one person being willing to engage with another. And that right there is why I hold up Marriott as the benchmark.

By the way, if you’re ever in Paris, I do suggest you stay at the Marriott on Avenue des Champs-Elysees. Tell them “hi” from me.

Copyright 2015, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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