In a hotel, a maintenance engineer was replacing a light bulb in the lobby ceiling. Out of the corner of his eye he notices a woman and her two sons coming from the pool, wrapped in towels but still dripping wet. The woman has her hands full with bags. She fumbles with the door that leads into the lobby, looking exasperated. The man on the ladder becomes alert to her predicament, puts down his tools, climbs down, crosses the lobby, smiles, and opens the door for her.
“Welcome back to the hotel, ma’am,” he says. “Let me help you with your bags. How was the pool? Did your two little guys have a good time? What floor are you going to?” He presses the button, exits the elevator, and heads back toward his ladder.
Learn to recognize and respond to the needs of your customers before they are expressed – sometimes before your customers even realize they have a need.
The customer expressed a need, and the employee responded energetically. He got off the ladder rather than saying ‘That’s not my job’. Reactive service is a pretty ineffective way to create loyal customers. To get on the fast track to customer loyalty, your company needs something better.
The magic happens when you, your systems, and the employees throughout the ranks of your business anticipate the needs of your customer, learning to recognize and respond to the needs of your customers before they are expressed – sometimes before your customers even realize they have a need. That is the difference between providing a normal service by merely reacting to customer requests and building loyalty through true anticipatory service.