A Guest Post by Anna Eilertsen, UP! Your Service Summer Intern
I recently spent a weekend on an island near Singapore. My Dad and I were looking for an easy get-away in a country that was new to both of us and this one fit the bill. After a few Google searches and price comparisons, we settled on a place to stay. Our “resort” advertised cute wooden bungalows that sit right on the beach, a bar and restaurant with complimentary breakfast, and a driver service from the ferry terminal where we were set to arrive. No big hotels, no pools and no jet-skis – an island away from the city with some true local flavor. I was excited – I was looking forward to reading my book, falling asleep on the beach, and coming home with good memories and visible tan lines.
Our weekend was certainly memorable, but it was not what I expected. We did stay in a bungalow right on the beach, but it was a stuffy room with bird-size mosquitoes and a bathroom that emitted a rare and unpleasant seafood smell. The food was tasty, but the service was by no means speedy. All of this might sound like a recipe for a terrible weekend, but somehow it wasn’t. The kindness and obvious effort put forth by the staff made it easier to overlook the resort’s shortcomings. We were always greeted with smiles and addressed by name. On our last night, the cook re-opened his kitchen just so we could try a special local dessert. It was so evident that everyone genuinely wanted to please us.
Later that night, the owner of the resort sat down with us, and after chatting for a bit, invited us to join him and the staff for drinks. Little did we know that karaoke was also part of the nightly routine. So we sipped imported whiskey and laughed as we were serenaded by one song after another, all vocal ability seemingly set aside. We were even coerced into a duet – a rousing version of “Hotel California” that would have impressed the Eagles themselves. Needless to say, it was an entertaining evening.
Not only did this short trip put me in touch with my inner Don Henley, it also made me think about the kind of service I value. In today’s fast-paced world of competitive ad campaigns and one product launch after another, it can be easy to focus only on the product itself – but this is not the only component of good service. The attitude and mindset of the service providers are just as essential, and can be instrumental in shaping the experience of a customer. This resort clearly did not have overflowing funds and resources, but they were still dedicated to providing a great experience for their guests. If I revisited this resort, it would not be for the food or the beach bungalows. I would return because their commitment to service makes me want them to succeed – and isn’t that the ultimate expression of customer loyalty?