Providing top quality service means exceeding your customers’ expectations in subtle ways. Let me give you an example: I love being at the Oyster Box Hotel, Umhlanga and while staying there spend many happy hours in the Clock Library. On a recent visit ‘Shack Chic’ (Craig Fraser) was on the table and attracted my attention.
I was conscious that I was in a magnificent five-star setting yet intrigued by how those living in South African shacks can enhance their surroundings. The cover shows a beautiful, smiling woman who is obviously proud of her home. Just look at the wall-paper on the floors and ceiling – sheets of labels from Koo tins! And the floor has the typical patterned linoleum. The appealing cover encouraged me to explore further.
‘The triumph of artistic tenacity over adversity is brought to life in Craig Fraser’s vibrant images which capture the style and innovation of Cape Town’s shack dwellers.’ Referring to those whose home he visited: ‘…the dignity to be found in the dusty streets of South Africa’s shack-lands. While these people obviously don’t take pleasure in the poverty they live in, they stand proud in the face of it. These are the people who are doing the best they can with the little they have and, in the process, coming up with something aesthetically unique and fresh to offer the world.’
Innovation is important in every aspect of our business lives and in our personal lives, too. This book is a gem and inspired me to think ‘outside the box’. In addition, the way it is set out and written is creative, appealing and appropriate to the topic. The quotes are beautiful and can be used as metaphors for life.
I kept going back to the library at the Oyster Box Hotel to explore the book further. Towards the end of our stay I was having coffee with the Assistant General Manager, Tyler Liebenberg and our conversation drifted towards the books which the hotel sources for the library, guests to read at the pool and those for the rooms. I mentioned how much I appreciated their choice of books and as an example mentioned ‘Shack Chic’. We carried on chatting and she quietly excused herself, spoke to a staff member and immediately came back to me.
As we finished our conversation, she said: ‘When you get back to your room, you’ll see ‘Shack Chic’ on top of your luggage (we were about to check out) and that is a gift for you.’ I was astonished, delighted and grateful. I treasure that book for inspiration and also as a reminder to anticipate the needs of those whom I serve.
From the above anecdote, my questions for you are:
- How are you innovating in your business and private lives?
- ‘Shack Chic’ shows that even people who are living in shacks can beautify their homes and be proud of their internal surroundings. How can you creatively change your surroundings so that you are even more proud of them?
- What are you doing to make sure your house is a home?
- In which ways are you incorporating feelings or warmth and caring into your business environment?
- How can you apply the metaphors from ‘Shack Chic’ to your own life?
- What are you consciously doing so that you exceed your guests’, clients’ or customers’ expectations?
- In which ways can you serve your family better?
For information on Customer Service training or for Executive Coaching please contact Brenda on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 82 4993311.