How do you exceed expected service levels?

In the tourism industry, focusing on ‘just’ meeting someone’s expectations is simply not good enough and actually quite demotivating. The game has changed significantly and current trends suggest there will be no let off in the near future. We should therefore always be looking to deliver that WOW factor – the once in a lifetime experience.  Asia DMC’s Thailand Product Executive, Ms. LAKSANACHIT SUANKAEW, shared with us how to create products that exceed customer expectations.

Q: What does the concept ‘service mind’ mean in tourism?

A: It requires an emphasis on the clients and the way we serve them in order to provide above and beyond expectation experiences. You have to anticipate their needs and build the whole experience around that. Like a master chef you have to blend all the different considerations and requirements into one and package it in such a way that it fits the customer. You have to be aware of the spoken and unspoken needs and the exact details of when and how to match it. Different cultures have different nuances and you have to adapt to each specific circumstance, tailoring to the individual. If you get one component wrong the whole experience can be ruined.

You have to be able to put aside your lofty view of a business and place yourself in the customer’s shoes. You must submerse yourself and look at the world through their eyes. This is not limited to frontline employees only. At every touching point of the experience, from inception, delivery to the guest returning home there has to be perfectly placed interventions to ensure the whole chain is working as one.

In brief, the idea of having a "Service Mind" can be conveyed by:

S = SmileM = Make believe 
E = Enthusiasm I = Insist
R = RapidnessN = Necessitate
V = ValueD = Devote
 I = Impression 
C = Courtesy 
E = Endurance 

Q: What do you do to make customers’ trip special, to go beyond their expectation?

A: For me, creating that perfect experience is an art form. The Eureka moment has to be in realizing that we are creating memories. Personalized itineraries have to be complemented by delivering on the day. It’s all in the attention to details, listening to your customers to really hear what they are saying, not just to reply. This allows you an ‘in’ which helps to understand what the customer is expecting. If you have this understanding you can create the perfectly balanced experience. You want to leave them fulfilled but also wanting more.

Walt Disney said it best, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”

I believe you never stop learning and improving so I am always looking for that next ‘wow’ experience or moment that I can weave into my itineraries. My customers go home and tell their families and friends about the trip that I created for them and I want them to be able to tell good stories, as a personal reflection on my work. 

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