A couple of months ago, I shared some of the great customer experiences I had on my travels abroad, and by experiencing them in a new culture and country, it helped me think about how I could bring elements back to my own customer experience. I didn’t quite manage to include everything in my first post, so I thought it was worth a follow up, and this time, I decided to give the companies delivering the great experience a mention!
Reykjavik, Iceland – Pink Iceland Tours
Iceland is a very unique destination for a holiday, impossible to describe in a few words. Following a lengthy period of economic hardship after the global recession, the small island nation with a small population has had to work hard to attract tourists. We headed there as part of a package tour, provided by Pink Island. We expected amazing nature and great food, but thanks to an incredibly personal approach from our tour guides, we were continually surprised and delighted by small personal touches during our holiday. For example, on our guided tours, the hosts provided free wifi, so that we didn’t have to incur expensive mobile roaming charges, or after dry snorkelling between the Eurasian & American plates, a hot chocolate with whisky was waiting for us. Small gestures really make an experience more memorable, and importantly, they don’t need to be flashy or expensive gestures, but well thought through and targeted to your audience.
Istanbul, Turkey – Aponia Store
Istanbul is a city of mystery, culture & heritage. It’s breath-taking architecture and rich history are captivating to any traveller, and as a visitor, foreigners are welcomed with genuine hospitality. When marvelling at the majesty and grandeur, it’s evident that this city was built by some very creative people. That creative vibe continues today. As we wandered the back streets of the old town, we stumbled upon a very interesting store, Aponia. Artists creating cool clothing to the highest quality, in a friendly setting (including resident cat), and serving some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. Sometimes, when we come across a place of creativity that inspires us – if you’re like me, you need that kick to get you thinking in a new way. The store also reminded me that creativity should go hand in hand with quality, and when you roll out that innovation, make sure it’s ready for the market in terms of quality.
Mumbai, India – Taj President Hotel
India feels like my spiritual home, and when I was working at Virgin Group, I spent weeks and months working in India with the Virgin businesses. I spent a large amount of time in Mumbai ,staying at the Taj President hotel. Excellent service, delivered every single time, wonderful staff who were proud to work there, and gorgeously designed interiors made me feel almost at home. Like every hotel group, Taj reward your loyalty with points, and a couple of years later, I went back to Mumbai on vacation to make use of my accrued loyalty points. It felt wonderful to walk back into the hotel, but the next morning I had what has to be a rare experience. As I entered the breakfast room, the restaurant manager walked up to me before I’d even sat down, greeted me by name and asked if I still preferred cold milk with my coffee and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for breakfast. Two year later and this gentleman remembered me by name AND my breakfast preference! That was when I truly understood making your customer feel valued. Even though hundreds of guests pass through the hotel each day, the restaurant manager remembered frequent guests, even after two years. Once again, it cost the business nothing, but made me feel like a million dollars. If you can find a way for your team to match that kind of delight, you’re on to a winner. Happy travels!