Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Good Service

I'm sorry, it's not going to be that easy. 

I cannot even tell you what a good service experience always looks like, in hopes that you'll always know what to do. But here's a little story, and it's the closest I can get for you.

I was traveling recently on Hawaiian Airlines and had, for the first time in many months, good service, within the context of my own world of what good service means. On Hawaiian, the flight attendants take water service very seriously and this is how I became a loyal customer. Simply, water is important to me, as hydration makes a journey in the de-humidified air cabins so much more pleasant. And on Hawaiian, I don't have to ask for it.

The process is very simple: You purchase a half-liter bottle of water and from that point forward they just seem to know you're the thirsty person on the plane. They'll then come around, without asking, about every hour or so, refilling your entire bottle from another, larger bottle of the same delicious island water.

Of course, other airlines have water, too. But you have to ask. Water, and getting something I want without having to repeatedly ask are my two favorite things in life. Combine them and I'm in heaven. But that's just me.

Let's look at another air travel service provider, Southwest Airlines. Yes, they're the airline that's consistently voted by their employees as the best airline to work for. They really care about their employees - and that's a good thing. They're happy, enthusiastic people and that is, generally, nice to be around. But they never remember I'm the thirsty person on the plane. What they do remember is to spontaneously sing over the intercom, tell jokes, be loud and entertaining in the aisles, which absolutely delights their passengers. In fact, surveys show it's why their own loyal following keep coming back.

But not me. I just want some water to drink.


On domestic estates, we must quickly learn what is, and isn't, good service for our employers and their guests. Most likely, it won't be something that involves popping open bottles of champagne, live entertainment, or other kinds of luxuries. It's not going to be that easy. 

That's because good service is not defined by what we want others to purchase, but by what others - as unique and sensitive human beings - wish to have for themselves. It's usually something not found in the luxury services marketplace, and sometimes it won't even be found in your household service training manual. Usually, it turns out to be something that seems very ordinary, small, or something we wouldn't go out of our way to pay for or even expect much of ourselves. But it can be a big thing - for the guest. 

Actually, it may be the one single thing that makes or breaks their entire guest experience and, consequently, your success. Because, as with the airlines, good service in a home is defined by...

...well, like for beauty, you'll now always know the rest of that sentence.