At JayMarc Homes, we often say that we strive to be ‘the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton of Homebuilders.’ But what does that really mean? What are those companies doing that inspires us to model ourselves after them?
The answer is a big, nebulous phrase in the clouds – “Customer Experience”
In a world filled with reviews (Yelp, Google, Amazon, and Houzz, to name a few), it is more important than ever for companies to distinguish themselves by providing a service or experience that keeps people coming back.
In this column I want to help define what great customer service is, through examples and anecdotes from companies around the world who are doing it right. Examining epic wins (and epic fails) will help us learn how to continually surprise and delight our clients—and we want to pass along that knowledge to you as well! That said, let’s start with a story from the “Customer Service Colossus,” the Four Seasons.
Isadore Sharp, the founder of the Four Seasons hotels, wrote a book in 2009 about his experiences. It’s an anecdotal and incredibly detailed account of how the Four Seasons went from a single unknown motel (yes, with an ‘M’), to one of the most recognized luxury hotel chains in the world. How did he do it? By providing exceptional service and value to everyone that walked through his hotels’ doors.
I wouldn’t mind sitting on the rooftop lounge at the Four Seasons in Mumbai!
At the Four Seasons, you are paying hundreds (or thousands) of dollars each night for the experience of staying there. When you book a room, you are expecting a comfortable bed, down pillows, fuzzy bathrobes — the works.
Sharp was one of the first hoteliers to really put into action the idea that companies and organizations should consistently be exceeding the expectations of their clients and guests. The Four Seasons was the first major hotel chain to provide complementary shampoo & conditioner in their bathrooms, which is a practice that is now used in almost every hotel around the world.
One of my favorite stories from Sharp’s book was about a VIP who was considering doing business with the Four Seasons. He decided to stay at their hotel in Paris under an alias. When he called, the hotel was completely booked. Hours later, however, he received a call from a concierge who was able to accommodate him, and even got him into the room he requested. That, in addition to how he was treated all week as “just another guest” helped him decide to go into business with the Four Seasons.
A company should treat anyone who walks through their doors as a VIP. This includes their clients, employees, vendors, and anyone else who interacts with the business.
The Four Seasons does a wonderful job of “walking the walk,” in this regard. They have carved a path for service businesses around the world, and JayMarc Homes has worked hard to model our customer experience mission after them.