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Spotless and/or personalized service quality are key elements in brand differentiation but ultimately, the experience your guests perceived is what distinguishes your brand from others.

Competition is fierce and every organization strives to deliver good or even excellent service. We have often been asked, “we are already providing great service to our guests, what else can we do?” Agree, providing good service is not difficult anymore because our staff are better educated, trained and more professional. The same for other organizations; hence, we are all providing better service at the end of the day: all 5-star hotels and/or all luxury brands! My response will be “how do you describe your brand personality?” Answering this question require a real understanding of who you are as a brand and is a key element of your success! Most of the time, I get wishy washy answers and reactions. So, what is the correlation with service excellence? Your brand personality will help you to define the experience, hence the STYLE of service excellence which will differentiate your brand among the others.

Brand personality ranges from the design of your building, decorations, to the feelings you wish your guests to perceive in every touch-point. For instance, language used during guest interactions is part of an experience and convey how customers see your brand. An ultra-luxury fashion brand will refer its products as creations, designs or collection; a luxury Swiss watch brand will refer to its watch as timepiece or masterpiece. On the other hand, mass brands might wish to avoid these terms as they do not reflect the personality, image of being accessible and might scare their customers away. The use of right terminology can thus enhance an image, awaken an emotion or even stimulate a memory.

A deeper reflection of service excellence is needed, which goes beyond answering the phone within three rings, providing the right information or solutions to the customers. Most interactions in organizations are inclined in providing what customer wants or needs. Nevertheless, the component of feeling is often forgotten. How do you want to make your guests feel when you are satisfying their wants and needs? Elegance, sophistication and striking or relaxed, approachable and simple!

Having trained staff to deliver service excellence is a great start of a race, but if you really want to stand out and be different, start communicating to your people and customers WHO you are and HOW you want them to feel!

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Wei Cheng-Chen Senior Consultant at Lausanne Hospitality Consulting

Wei-Cheng is a Senior Consultant at Lausanne Hospitality Consulting SA. He has assisted many international organizations, such as luxury goods, insurance and banking companies, in designing and delivering tailored training programmes to enhance their customer service and experience. His role also involves in managing a team in setting up hospitality schools and learning centres where hospitality talents are most needed; from concept development to implementation, quality inspection and ensuring sustainable growth and competitive advantage of each institution.

Prior to LHC, he worked in the hospitality industry in Argentina and Switzerland and also collected experience in the education sector. Wei was responsible for talent sourcing for Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, recruiting young future leaders for the hospitality industry. Wei is a life member of Clare Hall, a constituent and graduate college of the University of Cambridge where he obtained his postgraduate degree. He is also alumnus of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, and possesses a degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Management from the Escuela Internacional de Hotelería y Turismo CENCAP in Buenos Aires, Argentina.