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A lesson on quality customer service

Vacation Is A Great Way To Improve At Work

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

I recently took my first true vacation in years. My time off was a great way to improve at work and taught me as much about how to be an exceptional strategic planner as any day at the office.

I treated myself to a weeklong cruise on a reputable line and upgraded to a suite. The cruise line knew I was a planner (I’d scheduled a site visit of the ship). It knew my friend was an experienced cruiser and obviously knew which VIP stateroom we were in.

Regardless of how many events I plan, my expectations remain fairly simple. That said, I notice every detail down to the minutia; I can’t turn off that part of my brain. My expectation was the trip would find me with little to critique as this was the crème de la crème of trips.

Or so I thought.

Customer service: The good and bad

The myriad challenges we faced left me wishing I could swim to the nearest land mass. Inappropriate staff behavior, poor service, unacceptable room conditions and a general sense of management indifference surrounded us.

I recently took my first true vacation in years. My time off taught me as much about how to be an exceptional strategic planner as any day at the office. Vacation is a great way to improve at work. I learned it’s not how much you spend that dictates quality customer service; it’s how committed the vendor is to I spent five hours explaining challenges, meeting with management and actually training ship staff. The person who ultimately helped me asked me if I wanted a job. (He was only half kidding.)

Conversely, I walked into a high-end jewelry shop in one of the ports, dressed like a typical tourist. I barely made an impression beyond being someone who was perhaps there to take advantage of the free air conditioning.

I was greeted with a warm “hello” and a genuine smile. The saleswoman and I found ourselves laughing and talking about many things and not one of them was jewelry. Eventually, I focused on the task at hand and starting perusing the cases.

The shop owner introduced himself and joined our conversation. I spent three hours there. My sister somehow ended up with the owner’s Wi-Fi code to check her email. Bottles of water appeared and never went empty and at no point did I feel pressure to do anything more than enjoy the experience.

I fell in love with a pair of earrings that I ultimately decided I was not going to splurge on. The shop owner told me to take them and pay him whenever I wanted. I declined, and he had the salesperson put them in my bag anyway. (Mind you, these were multi-thousand dollar, diamond earrings.)

A lesson for all of us

I walked out with his card, a contact for private shopping events and a true appreciation for customer service. I left the earrings behind but walked out with a treasure (nothing anywhere near what the earrings cost). I’m not sure what would have happened if I took the owner up on his offer to give me the earrings until I chose to pay him. What I do know is that the shop owner’s priority was my experience first and making money second. I realize that’s a clever way to make people spend more money. That said, the cruise line, which had my money in advance acted as such, and lost a future sale even though they knew I had paid a hefty price to be there and had the potential to book again.

It’s not how much you spend that dictates quality customer service; it’s how committed the vendor is to providing it. Our job is to be committed to providing the best experience we can no matter what the budget. I know that cerebrally, but it was a great reminder to experience it firsthand. My vacation is over, but the lesson learned (and my jewelry purchase) remain.

Want to know what shop I went to so you can get book a private shopping event or just have a trustworthy store to visit? Email me at: Christy.Lamagna@strategic.events

 

Tags: Vacation Is A Great Way To Improve At Work, Vacation, Customer Service, Events, Meetings, Corporate Events, Corporate Meetings, Event Planning, Event Planners, Strategic Planners, Strategic Events, Plan Your Meetings

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