I love being treated like a princess. I really do. Don’t you?
As I type this, I’m 30,000 feet above the ground, forcefully snuggling with the complete stranger sitting next to me because, well, I’m on an airplane. And unless you’re in first class, this is just how airplane travel is these days. As I sit here uncomfortably resting my arms tight against my abdomen while I’m trying to type (because I don’t want to be on of those travelers that hogs all the room), I can’t help but reminisce about yesterday–when I was treated more like royalty than part of a herd of cattle.
Turn the clock back 24 hours ago, and you would have found me relishing in the perfection I experienced while staying at the Four Seasons Resort in Ko’Olina, Hawaii. This was my first experience staying at the Four Seasons; however, I guarantee it will not be my last. In fact, if I have anything to say about it, I’ll never stay anywhere else again. Here’s why: during my stay, my needs were anticipated, my wants were catered to and I was delighted day after day with surprises of all sorts. And it made me feel very well-cared for. And don’t we all long to feel that way?
Let me bring my experience to life for you. Every day of my vacation, I spent at least a few hours (if not the entire day) lounging in the warm ocean water. The scenery alone was enough to melt my heart, yet what the Four Seasons did to enhance the experience blew my mind.
Anticipating My Needs
Like many upscale hotels, this hotel offered towel service, yet here, they took it a step further–or perhaps I should say 10,000 steps further. They anticipated every need I had, and then some. Not only did they offer towels, they escorted us to the lounging area of our choice and dressed our chairs for us–complete with pocketed towels that secured around the lounging cushion better than a fitted sheet on a bed. They rolled one towel up in a little ball at the top of the chair so I had a pillow. Seconds later, a second employee arrived, with ice-cold water in hand ready for us. But that was just the beginning.
Fast forward a couple of hours later, and we were greeted by Mr. Aloha (I’m not kidding, that’s what they called him). He delivered fresh sunscreen to our seats to ensure we were well-protected from the blazing sun overhead. (I still managed to fry my shoulders thanks to my practically translucent white skin, but I digress). Mr. Aloha must have noticed my lobster-like shoulders because not too long after that, he visited us again, this time with cool, lemon-scented washcloths that soothed every inch of my fried skin and offered to raise an umbrella overhead for us, because heaven forbid, I would have to get up out of my chair and exert any effort whatsoever.
Note: I didn’t request any of this service. And I certainly didn’t expect any of it. But I got it anyway. And I looooved it.
When a company anticipates the needs their customers have before the customer even realizes they have needs, you know they’re doing business right.
Catering To My Wants
Think my ocean-side experience was enough? Think again. That’s just how they get started. Throughout the next 6 days, they catered to my every want. One night while eating dinner at one of the on-site restaurants, I had the unfortunate experience of biting into a piece of food that simply wasn’t my favorite. You know how they say you “just know” when you’ve found the love of your life? Well apparently, this waitress “just knew” I wasn’t in love with my meal. And she was bound and determined to change that. So much so that when I couldn’t identify anything else on the menu that tantalized my tastebuds, she asked what I was really craving. Not too long after that, she returned to my table with my heart’s desire on a plate. And no, it’s not because she had the chef whip up something special for me. It’s because she actually left the restaurant, went to another restaurant that had what I really wanted, and got it for me. I mean, really….
Delivering Delightful Surprises
Clearly the restaurant and poolside staff had it going on, but so did the housekeeper assigned to our room. Every day we returned to our hotel room to find delightful surprises. One day we found fresh lei’s on the dresser in the shape of hearts. Another day we were greeted with a bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a handwritten note congratulating us on our anniversary. The next day we found our freshly-laundered clothes hanging for us in the closet. It didn’t stop. It was truly one great thing after another.
And don’t even get me started on the people that worked the bell desk. Think “your wish is my command,” and you’ve got the right idea.
Here’s what I know: The Four Seasons does business right. Their customer experience is beyond extraordinary.
All of this got me thinking. I own a business. I’m grateful to have lots of wonderful testimonials from happy clients. But truth be told, as much as I aim to delight my clients, I’ve realized there is a lot of room for improvement. It’s time to kick my client experience up a notch–or 10. It’s time to master the art of anticipating their needs, catering to their wants and delivering delightful experiences. Because that’s how you create raving fans. The kind that are so over-the-top impressed they don’t just write short testimonials, they write entire blog posts about you instead of watching the free in-flight entertainment.
What about you? Is there room for improvement in your customer experience? How are you consistently exceeding expectations? How do you think your clients would respond if you started running your business Four Seasons style?
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to find out. I’ve experienced the royal treatment and it’s time for me to pay it forward. To not just aim to please, but to purpose to delight, on every level, at every turn.
I’m convinced that old saying, “it’s the little things that count,” is spot on. And with the remaining hour and thirty some-odd minutes I have left on this flight, I’m going to dream up 25 Ways To Create Delightful Customer Experiences. By the time I land, they’ll be done. And yes, I’ll share them with you. Because that’s just the right thing to do.
Thanks for the inspiration Four Seasons. I’ll be back. I promise.