13. Hospitality vs. Customer Service

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The Difference between Hospitality and Customer Service

Customer service is very important in any business. We touched on the subject earlier in the book and some things will be reiterated because they are of utmost importance. But it is imperative to know that customer service and hospitality are not the same. The difference in them could possibly be the difference in your business being successful...or not.

Customer service, as mentioned before, is tending to guest related tasks and doing so with a pleasant and gracious attitude. It is making sure things go right for the customer and that every detail is attended to. Customer service is an action.

Hospitality, however, is a matter of the heart. It is greeting your guests with genuine open arms, just as you would a long lost friend who came to visit. It is making your guest’s visit the experience of a lifetime. It involves pampering and spoiling while being ever attentive to not only their needs, but of their desires as well.

You hopefully have good customer service at your bank. You are greeted and assisted. You are able to use the facilities, get through to them when you call, etc. But on a cruise ship, it is hospitality you crave. You want to live in the lap of luxury if only for a few days or a week.

Customer service takes care of business and provides a good service. Hospitality is when you give selflessly to make an experience happen for your guests. It is genuine and true.

Hospitality changes the way people feel and makes dreams come true.

Take it to the Next Level

Hospitality is about taking customer service to the next level. And when you take hospitality to the next level, reach for the stars. Your business will flourish.

It’s like going to a concert. You have good directions to the locations, you are able to park in a designated spot and your tickets are correct. The facilities are clean and easy to access. That is good customer service. But when the band starts up and your favorite band member jumps off the stage, grabs you up and brings you on stage...you feel special. It’s a moment you will never forget. That’s the difference between customer service and hospitality.

Think back to where feeling special made your trip or visit fabulous. For me, it was a tour guide on a Holy Land tour who went way over and above to make us laugh with his jokes and cry with his true tales of hardship. He taught us, not just the facts but the interesting little known details too. The land, the sites and the hotel were awesome parts of the trip. But the minute we stepped onto the bus each day, we were royalty. Why? Because our guide took hospitality to the next level! Years have passed and I still remember the tour, and the tour guide, but most of all, I remember the way he made me feel...important. Be that tour guide, even if you are just the greeter at the door. Make that difference!

While you may not realize the impact of a farm on those who have never visited one or who seldom get to go to one. You may be guilty of taking your own treasure for granted. You must understand that going to a farm, like yours, is a dream for many. It is an escape, a learning experience...something to share with the children.

If your farm accommodates children, make sure they are embraced as well.

In order to deliver in the hospitality department, you must get a full feel for the attraction your place holds to its visitors. Make it larger than life. Pamper your guests. Make your farm the Disney of farms or the Hilton of bed and breakfasts. What your guests will remember is the way in which they were treated. Treating them like kings, queens, princes and princesses will make lasting memories and will bring return customers too.