A guest of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Naples was attending a two-day conference. Since his two children had a school holiday and his wife was working, he brought his children with him on the trip. After a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant, the waiter asked if they would like anything else. “Popcorn!” squealed his two kids. They had planned an after-dinner pay-for-view movie for the three of them! “Certainly,” said the waiter and minutes later brought a large container of freshly popped popcorn. A year later the man was in the same hotel for a meeting without his children. As he was asking for the check, the maitre de approached him and asked if he’d like some popcorn again!
Sometimes the service encounter is fortunate enough to be backed up by history–previous moments with the customer. Smart organizations make a record of those moments for opportunities to personalize later experiences. It need not be as sophisticated as Ritz-Carlton Hotel’s famous guest preference system outlined above. The old fashioned “note card” system can be just as effective. Make notations of incidents that your customer would be pleased you remembered, not shocked you knew. How can you create customer delight by remembering the details of your customer’s experience?