A few years back I had the opportunity to join the launch team for the first Shangri-La hotel in North America. They are one of most luxurious hotel chains that are very well regarded in Asia and the rest of the world.
The Shangri-La’s mantra is to delight their guests every time by creating engaging experiences straight from the heart. Their culture is engrained deeply in every associate from the leadership to the staff in the back of the house.
When people travel, they are more willing to share their preferences with you because they believe that they will get better service, so there is lots of opportunity to research and set up the room based on their preferences. However, the hospitality doesn’t end there. To delight a guest, staff are encouraged to anticipate their needs and find opportunities to make every visit a memorable one.
For example, if a guest is sick, a nice hot bowl of soup will be sent to the room free of charge. This little touch exceeds guest expectation and often turns a good experience to a great one and keeps them coming back.
How can you 'Shangri-La' Delight Your Customers?
1. Know your best customers
It can be hard to ask your customers to answer 10 questions before you prove to them that the time they spend with you is worthwhile. However, with today’s technology and open APIs, retailers can centralize customer data across channels and gain a 360-degree view. Omnichannel retailers can use this data to personalize their service to make every customer visit worthwhile.
2. Anticipate their needs
Ability to listen to and anticipate what your customer may need is crucial. This doesn’t have to come from a profit only motivation. It should come from a genuine customer experience motivation of ensuring your customers have a fantastic time in your store and everything they need before they leave. Great sales staff can be your brand ambassadors and help make every touchpoint frictionless and enjoyable.
3. Go the extra mile
To create a memorable shopping experience, retailers should exceed customer expectations.
Some retail stores provide wine, or live music to create a fun shopping atmosphere. Target has recently launched a play land for kids and Lululemon offers a water station in some of their locations.
However, it’s not always a big thing that makes a big difference. Retailers can start with something small at no cost - giving permission and encouraging staff to care about customers and go the extra mile when they can. Sometimes even the smallest things, such as helping customers carry bags to their car, paying for parking, and engaging with their kids while they try clothes on, can go a long way.