What can Harvey Keitel and Hugh Jackman teach us about how to look after our customers?

Article by Suzee Laxton 14.03.16 Let me start by clarifying the reality behind the A-lister headline. The closest I’ve ever come to both of these chaps is across a hotel lobby and, as you might have guessed, that hotel lobby was Claridge’s where I was happily celeb-spotting while having the most amazing afternoon tea of my life.

That experience of Claridge’s set the bar for the standard of service I hope to offer every client I might have now or in the future. It’s also the standard of service you should aspire to. 
What made my experience at Claridge’s so magical

1. They understood their customer’s why

For good reason, the focus for many companies is on understanding and communicating their own why to their customers. However, your ability to offer your client what they want depends on how well you understand them aka understanding their why, what makes them tick. 

My ‘why’ for Claridge’s – I’d fallen in love with the place after watching ‘Inside Claridge’s’. My waiter loved the programme too – it’s what inspired him to apply for a job there. We know this about each other because he took the time to find out.

2. They embraced their customer’s why

Once my waiter knew this about me, he brought me over a photo album of Claridge’s and its guests through the ages. I loved it! I’m sure my partner in afternoon tea wasn’t quite as keen as me: it resulted in me cooing over the pictures in silence. 

3. They were thoughtful

Once I’d been given the photo album, it was readily apparent that I’d have nowhere to put it down and, rather than waiting to see if I specifically mentioned this, the waiter (without asking) went and found a little table, brought it over and placed it by my side so I could eat and stare at the photos at the same time. 

Being thoughtful is, quite possibly, right at the heart of Claridge’s as they showed this time and time again:

– my friend is vegetarian and I’m not so, without prompting, they served our sandwiches on separate plates rather than on one stand like for everyone else.

– my coat was taken from me when I arrived, taken to the Cloakroom and a token given back to me. At the end of the afternoon, the token was collected and the coat returned.

– they gave me a birthday cake as I was there celebrating my birthday and they did not sing ‘Happy Birthday’. For me, the latter made me even happier than the former.

4. Their excellence didn’t cost me more 

Or, perhaps, poor service doesn’t cost us any less (sadly).
At the end of Afternoon Tea, we went for cocktails in the Fumoir (beyond amazing). The price of a mind-blowing cocktail served within minutes with table service and complimentary nibbles in amazing surroundings was exactly the same as the bar at Euston where I was queuing at the bar for 30 minutes waiting to be served and had to struggle back to the (dirty) table (in the street) with my own drinks.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve been back to Claridge’s but not the bar at Euston.   

Have you got an example of amazing customer service too? Share if you have.

Suzee Laxton