Customer Service Starts with People

Today’s businesses rely on technology to support their customer service. There are solutions in place to help companies deliver service and support for their customers and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software helps to personalise a customer’s experience. Another important aspect for businesses today is a well-designed, customer friendly website.

Customers also benefit when the technology is such that computer systems communicate with one another via social media. All of these systems combine to help deliver and upgrade the customer’s experience.

But despite all the technological advances and solutions that are in place to deliver better customer service, people are still at the heart of great service. The systems have been created and controlled by people.

My business takes me around the world, consulting with companies about customer service, and one recent meeting was held at the Four Seasons Resort in Vail, Colo.

As an upscale hotel chain, the Four Seasons takes customer service seriously and has a detailed system in place to enhance a customer’s experience. As part of this “secret system,” the bellman who took my luggage when I arrived checked the luggage tag and greeted me by name. He used a walkie-talkie to alert the front desk that I was on my way, so that when I arrived at the desk the clerk who checked me in also called me by name without having to ask me for it.

The customer service system combines both a personal touch (being greeted by name) and technology (the walkie-talkie), with a dash of common sense (looking at the luggage tag). Another important element of the amazing customer service is communication. In my case, the front desk personnel were alerted by the bellman of my arrival.

But, the communication among the fine people at the Four Seasons Resort extends beyond that. One employee told me a story that further illustrates the inner workings of the “system.”

A hotel guest was working out in the gym and pulled a muscle in his neck. The personal trainer on duty suggested a massage, and relayed the information to the massage therapist, who was then aware of the situation and prepared before even meeting the guest. Also, when the guest returned to his room that night, he found a different type of pillow waiting for him on his bed. The housekeeping department was alerted by the massage therapist of the guest’s ailment and that he needed a firmer pillow. This entire scenario highlights the importance of communication among people in delivering amazing customer service.

So, not to downplay the value of technology in delivering a better customer service experience – it is important and needs to be continually reviewed and updated – but don’t overlook the other essential element: your people. They ultimately have the greatest influence on the level of customer service that your organisation offers.

Images courtesy of
Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organisations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more articles on customer service and business, go to

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