The weekend stay-cation
Over the weekend I got to be a visitor in my home state. To celebrate my son’s 16th birthday, he wanted to take a trip to “another county” which happens to be a few islands away. He had some requests for a few attractions he wanted to visit along with a couple eateries that were high on his list. To make it a little more special, we opted to go all-in at a very nice resort hotel. It is something we wouldn’t normally do for traveling within the same state, but we won’t have another 16th birthday in our family and, after all, it is Maui.
I noticed the difference between prior visits purely as an out-of-state tourist versus this most recent trip. Due to some pandemic restrictions, I had to show my identification at many places I normally wouldn’t need to do so. It actually started in a place where I have to do that – the hotel check-in.
I was getting welcomed much the same way I have been welcomed at many hotels. As soon as I shared my identification stating that I live in the state, the tone changed – and in a good way. Suddenly I was given hints that only someone local would know. I was given some extra credits to spend at the resort. I even got a slight room upgrade. All things within the power of the front desk, but recognized immediately after my status as kama‘āina was noticed.
Making it special
Let me start by first saying that they made the weekend all that much more special. The combination of my status with the hotel, the birthday celebration, and my residency combined to make up quite a few extra benefits. As I rolled through the weekend, I continued to think about people I know that would enjoy this. Almost like the wave of a magic wand (or a state identification) and I’m suddenly seeing things the most people don’t get to experience. It has happened before when speaking with someone in Waikiki, as soon as I identified myself as a resident, they talked to me in a different, less “touristy” tone. In each case, making it special for me.
Really, that should be our goal with customer experience, build experiences that people want to come back for. As Shep Hyken recently lamented in a post, what if your experience was so good, people would pay for the privilege just to stand in line for that experience.
Why is customer experience a differentiator?
I am certainly not the first person to say this, but your customer experience strategy should be about all these things. You can have the best customer experience management platform, like QuestionPro, and measure every CX touchpoint. You can even use innovative features like our exclusive NPS+ then include standard features like closed-loop tools and customer sentiment analysis. When it comes to all these, you’ll have the support you need to make decisions.
However, when we look at the difference-maker, it will always be the front-line employee. In my case, it was the front desk receptionist at the hotel. It can also be the cashier at the grocery store. It can even happen in the B2B space. The key is to have both empowered and informed employees. When an employee is able to be a difference-maker, they undoubtedly will be.
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