Imagine the best customer service experience you’ve ever had. Was it at a luxury resort or a cozy inn? Or maybe it was at an Apple store? Apple stores are known for the enhanced customer service they provide. Before opening the very first Apple store, Steve Jobs asked employees where they, as customers, had experienced the best customer service. Many employees answered that their best experiences were at a Ritz-Carlton, a Four Seasons, and other five-star resorts.
Based on these responses, Steve Jobs borrowed the Ritz-Carlton customer service approach and trained Apple store associates accordingly. Apple employees are taught to use the acronym A-P-P-L-E to provide customer service. Carmine Gallo of Forbes summarizes the steps as:
- A- Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome
- P- Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs
- P- Present a solution for the customer to take home today
- L- Listen for and resolve issues or concerns
- E- Ends with a fond farewell and an invitation to return
In addition, Apple trains their employees, called “geniuses,” using an anticipatory customer service model. This is when an Apple genius fulfills a customer’s wants and needs that have not been directly expressed and can be seen in the probing stage of the A-P-P-L-E steps of service. During this stage, the genius listens to the customer’s wants and needs, but also interprets what the customer wants yet isn’t clearly stating.
Creating and using a consistent set of steps enhances customer service because the guest experience is consistent whether the guest is at a different location, speaking with a different representative, or visiting at a different time. Consistently having excellent customer service creates guest loyalty and leads to increased purchases. You can implement a similar set of steps at your property to ensure guests are treated with amazing customer service every time they visit your hotel or B&B.
Apple’s model of customer service also focuses on building a relationship with the guests instead of pushing products. Like hotel employees, Apple geniuses not present when guests first introduce themselves still address guests by name. This is possible because their colleagues pass along names and descriptions of guests. They also listen to the guest intently to make suggestions based on what the guest needs. Your hotel staff can do the same by listening to what guests want out of their stay and making recommendations and satisfying their needs accordingly.
Apple learned how to consistently have excellent customer service from Ritz-Carlton. Now, your hotel can adopt Apple’s model to your property and provide amazing customer service to all of your guests.
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