Do You WOW Customers With Every Exception?

The True Loyalty From Exception-al Customer Experience!

From the customer’s perspective, exceptional customer experience has its roots in exceptions to standard policies.

Exceptional customer experience develops customer loyalty by creating personalized ease and comfort. Meanwhile, many companies ironically standardize in an attempt to deliver, manage, and measure exceptional customer service and customer experience.

Do your standard procedures WOW the customers into loyalty to your brand or push them to escape the chains of your procedures and go to a brand that focuses on their individual needs?

Exceptional Customer Experience: Free Customers From Your Standardized Approach & Build Loyalty Image by:toastforbrekkie

How Well Do You Deliver Exceptions to Create Customer Loyalty?
Large companies in the travel and hospitality industry use profiles for frequent customers to deliver personalized service. It’s a good start. Yet once again they standardize it to certain categories like type of rental car, floor preference in a hotel, aisle or window seat on a plane.

Companies that WOW, expect, accept, and deliver exceptions as the standard approach — and thus win the customer’s loyalty.

  • Do your employees see exceptions as difficult? In hotels, customers miss not only the comforts of home but the comfort of being home. There’s a difference.

    Many hotels have standard offerings now that provide some of the comforts of home and yet the employees struggle to deliver exceptions to it. On the other hand, the hotels that WOW give customers the comfort of being home where they can access whatever they need and want whenever they need and want it. The staff deliver truly personalized service. That’s a WOW. That builds loyalty.

  • Are you using technology to enable customers to personalize for each interaction? What if there were a way for all hotel customers to electronically submit their personalized needs each day so that service teams could easily deliver? Picture a customer being able to enter a daily request for extra towels with a simple electronic entry and housekeeping staff being able to easily view and deliver this personalized service.
  • Do your metrics demotivate or punish front line management and staff for delivering exceptions? Delivering personalized ease and comfort to customers is quite achievable when all teams (front line and behind the scenes) are free to do just that. When leadership, organizational culture, or performance metrics undermine that, it will not happen on a regular basis.

Few if any customers approach a brand with the thought, “how can I the customer fit into what the brand has to offer?” They want to know what your brand can do for them. Don’t trap your customers in your procedur-itis. They always have the option to escape to another brand.

Customer loyalty rests in delivering exceptional personalized customer experience through your caring and agility. Are your teams agile enough to deliver the WOW?

I am here to help you as I have so many brands.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related posts:
Customer Service Leaders, Are Your Limits Actually Roadblocks?

Fast Company: Why Customer Experience is the Only Thing That Matters – Be Obsessed

©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

15 Responses to “Do You WOW Customers With Every Exception?”

  1. Khalid says:

    Hi Kate

    I love your idea of technologically automating guests requests in hotels. I would though be careful with losing human touch in the service and transfer it into a dull device for requests. I think if this can be combined with human servicing such requests in person to ensure quality in delivery.

    Machines won’t be able to read the body language of guests to be able to adjust the device delivery accordingly.

    Thanks for your creative ideas 🙂


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Khalid,
      I share your concern about machines. I don’t recommend total automation. However, there are many times when easy submission of requests electronically — to be clarified further by caring staff — can make things easier for customers.

      Thank you so much for your contribution on this topic. It’s one that affects so many customers — especially travellers.


    • Jeff Toister says:

      Khalid, I agree. The electronic to human exchange can often be a black hole in hotels. For example, try sending an email with a special request to the email address listed on a hotel’s website. In too many cases, the email goes unanswered and the request unfulfilled. An automated process that actually worked would be great. Even better is when you receive a personal response from a real person who assures you the request will be fulfilled and gives their contact info in case you need anything else.

  2. Kate Nasser says:

    Hi Dan,
    Normally I love the people to people contact yet during endless business travel I wanted to be able to get exactly what I need in the room and have that be my standard for that stay. Thought… wouldn’t it be great if I could just specify it electronically when I arrive and even be able to easily change it day to day.

    Thanks for your contribution here.

  3. Michael Pace says:

    Exceptional topic for every Supervisor through Senior Management team member! Delivering per policy or procedure creates expected results from customers. It’s the exceptions, the odd request, the desperate customer, the grey areas and how you handle them that create awe-inspiring experiences. The more you can help your associates exercise their responsible freedom, the better they and your customers will feel.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Michael,
      You’ve coined a winning phrase here — help your associates exercise their responsible freedom — and it also wins the day in customer service. Responsible freedom is true empowerment in action and exactly what customers need for exceptional service.

      Thank you for this addition!

  4. Spot on, Kate! It’s rare that companies empower Agents (and even front line Supervisors sometimes) to think “out of the box” to customize, reward, and create a great loyalty building Customer Experience.

    I love Hilton products and they offer to book amenities in advance on their online booking site such as foam pillows in lieu of down, extra towels and even food items waiting in your room at your arrival. They still offer the human touch at the front counter and a call to check if everything is to your liking. They have learned to blend technology and personal service and certainly have built loyalty with me at times when the Front Desk team offered a different solution to help me rather than cookie cutter.

    Great post!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thanks Melissa. I look forward to the day when customers can submit those customized requests during their stay once they see the room and know what else they need!


  5. Shep Hyken says:

    Another great article. I always enjoy how you play with words to make your point. Exceptional service sometimes comes from making exceptions. All companies should have a system and guidelines that help employees make good choices (also known as exceptions) for their customers.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      True Shep. And as Michael said above … give employees the chance to exercise responsible freedom to deliver customized service.

      Many thanks for voicing your view here.

  6. Penelope Rambin says:

    Kate, once again you motivate me to think about the customer experience in a new light. I ditto the comment that Melissa Kovacevic says: “It’s rare that companies empower Agents (and even front line Supervisors sometimes) to think “out of the box” to customize, reward, and create a great loyalty building Customer Experience.” Any good articles about how to motivate the Executive Team?

    Best Regards,
    Penelope Rambin

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thanks Penelope. I will keep my eyes open for additional articles on that and … may write one myself. Here is a perfect example of learning from others to create and deliver something different or even more customized!

      Regards and gratitude,

  7. Bill Quiseng says:

    Kate, you are absolutely right! Hotels are notoriously behind the times when it comes to using technology to personalize the guest experience. While hotel companies may have created tiers from luxury to economy, within the tier, hotels have a “one size fits all” service mentality. One size fits all is simply targeting the average guest. Unfortunately, nobody raves about average. Average does not build the business. At best, average service performance sustains the business only until a competitor antes up. For a hotel or any business to really stand above their competitors, they should follow your advice to use technology to cater to the individual needs of the guest. Hotels should think beyond pre-arrival requests and really create a personal customer experience. Make each guest feel that they are special, each Guest an exception to the average. Now wouldn’t that be exceptional?

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Right on Bill. The one size fits all followed by a survey with questions that ask basically “how did we do on our one size fits all” can give a very false impression about whether that customer truly had an exceptional experience.

      Pre-arrival requests, as you say, are only the very beginning of what hotels could do to give people — as I call it — the comfort of being home not just a few comforts of home.

      So grateful that someone in your position in the hotel industry has weighed in on this.

      Warm regards,

  8. James Brauer says:

    This blog post loosely reminds me of a recent book I read, “The Mesh” by Lisa Gansky.

    As businesses use technology in a more strategic fashion, it becomes significantly easier to personalize/individualize needs for customers.

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