What I Learned About Customer Service on My Vacation in Asia

by Barry Moltz on January 18, 2010

Now that jet lag has subsided, I can now reflect on what I learned on my three week vacation with my family to China, Hong Kong and Thailand.

1. Service makes the difference. Boy, do we Americans have a lot to learn from Asians about provided great customer service experiences. Flying first class on Cathay Pacific makes sitting in first class on American Airlines seem like flying on a cargo plane. Staying at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok makes the Hyatt in Chicago seem like a Motel 6.

2. Tradition makes this world more human. Being a Karate-ka, I have always been into protocol. When the people from Thailand greet you, they clasp their hands together and bow. They pause to slow down and acknowledge the greeting of someone else. It makes this 24/7 world a bit slower.

3. When you think the service you bought is over, give a little more.  It will delight your customers. I experienced this all the time in Asia. On plane rides, there were two desserts. At massages, after you sat up, there still was a short shoulder massage to get. At the end of a boat ride, the crew shook every passengers hands..

If you want to see my 3 week vacation in 3 minutes or photos of the trip, click here!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mark Mawhinney January 18, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Barry, I haven’t been to Asia so I have no point of reference. But I can say that very few businesses in North America provide exceptional customer or guest service.

I had the good fortune to work for a company that is a world leader in guest service (I won’t plug it, but if you want me to give the name just let me know). Here are some nuggets:

(1) Hire right. Most businesses think it’s really hard to give spectacular service. It’s not actually that hard if you employ people who love serving others and get a charge out of making their customer/guests’ experience second to none.

(2) Listen. The customer isn’t always right, and they know it. Most of the time they just want to be heard.

(3) Recover well. No company can provide perfect customer or guest service. So when a mistake happens, use it as an opportunity to make a raving fan out of the guest.

(4) Empower the right kind of staff. After hiring right, train, train and train some more. But, then let the team members on the front lines do their job / let them make decisions. If it feels right, it probably is so, go for it.

Cheers,

Mark

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