Great Customer Service Is Costing You Business

Great Customer Service Is Costing You Business

The terms service and hospitality are often used interchangeably. Though interrelated, they are not one and the same. Service and hospitality are two separate aspects of business and if regarded and used this way, can fundamentally change the results you create.

Service is the practical part of delivering your offer. Whether you’re selling software or chicken wings, service is tangible and utilitarian.

Service denotes acts, tasks, procedures that are done with consistency.

Service is tangible: a waiter physically carries the food out of the kitchen and sets it in front of his guest.

Service is precise and uniform: the food is cooked, plated, garnished, and presented in a precise order and manner, every time.

Service is disciplined and duplicated: all waiters in the restaurant are trained on how to serve food the same.

Service is an inseparable and crucial part of any business. But, if your goal is to thrive for the long haul, service alone can not become the bottom line in your business.

Whatever business you’re in, you’re in the business of emotions: you are a human, selling to other humans.

To sell your product or service, you must induce certain emotions in people. And delivering service alone doesn’t achieve this. Service may provide a sense of certainty and satisfaction in your customers, but certainty and satisfaction are not enough to make people come back to you over and over again.

Hospitality is the emotion inducing element of delivering your goods.

Service is the physical, tangible labor; hospitality is the emotional labor.

Service is precise and uniform; hospitality is fluid and flexible.

Service is disciplined, trained and duplicated; hospitality is nurtured and cultivated.

Performing service without providing hospitality may produce a sale, but one that will not be repeated -- at least not often enough to keep you in business.  

The challenge in providing hospitality is the sense of ambiguity most businesses have. Service can be measured, controlled and managed. It’s explicit and clear: you either delivered that product, or you did not, there is no in-between. You know, because you control the process and track the hard results.

Hospitality, on the other hand, is more vague and obscure. How do we know how people feel? How do we measure and control that? What’s the system for making people feel that way every time? It seems so esoteric.

This is how service becomes comfortable for us, and hospitality is inconvenient at best.

As soon as we start trying to control and measure hospitality, hospitality ceases to exist.

Hospitality can not be a calculated move. Hospitality is not a strategy. Hospitality must be benevolent and ever-present.

Service is performed, administered, conducted, controlled, executed, managed, satisfied, processed and transacted.

Hospitality is simply given.

Hospitality is not a discipline; it’s a way of being with people. And you can’t train people into a way of being. They must embody hospitality before you hire them.

When we clump the concepts of service and hospitality together, we don’t see what’s really not working in our process.

We train people to perform acts, tasks and procedures when what’s really missing is the generosity and presence that make those tasks worthwhile.

We perfect our systems and forget the humans who the systems are designed for. We focus on making a sale and never make the profits.

Service alone isn’t good enough. It must be accompanied by hospitality.