I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago and saw something on my hotel receipt that got me thinking about the true definition of excellence in marketing and customer service.
The bottom of the receipt simply asked, “How was your stay?” It continued with, “If you cannot rate your visit as excellent, please let us know.” A generic customer service email followed, along with the general manager’s name.
I thought about my stay. It was fine. The hotel met expectations with a clean room, an okay view, decent restaurant and lounge, and respectable meeting rooms. But it wasn’t excellent—it was fine.
Webster’s says excellence is a talent or quality that’s unusually good and surpasses ordinary standards. Other sources define it as superior, remarkably good or possessing outstanding quality.
To me, excellence is something special. It’s when you exceed my expectations by a significant amount. It’s when a product, service or customer experience is good enough for me to talk about with my friends, family and colleagues.
I wondered what it would’ve taken for me to rate my hotel stay as excellent. What could they have done to elevate my experience from fine to excellent? How could they have exceeded my expectations to ensure I told my friends so they stayed there, too, on their next trip to San Francisco?
Then, I turned the table and asked myself the same: What could ER and the building materials industry do to ensure an excellent customer experience? Would we have the guts to ask that question on every invoice or receipt? Are we brave enough to ask that question at every customer touchpoint?
My sense is if we received a negative response from a customer, most of us would take steps to fix the problem right away. But I wonder how many of us would act with the same urgency if a customer said their experience doing business with us was just “fine.”
“Fine” is a C grade on a college term paper. “Fine” doesn’t get people talking about our business. “Fine” is quickly forgotten.
Are you brave enough to ask customers at each touchpoint about their experience? Will you act with urgency if feedback reveals you’re perceived as ordinary? And, most importantly, how can you elevate your customer experience from one that’s fine to one that’s excellent and gets people talking about your business?