Tweak Your System To Improve Customer Experience

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The Disneyland Hotel recently tarnished Mickey’s reputation with an influential customer from Seattle. Mark stayed at a hotel inside the park with his family for three days. He attended a legal seminar while his family enjoyed Disney rides, ate Disney meals and spent at Disney plenty! His seminar ended at noon on the third day, but hotel checkout was 11:00 a.m.

On the second night Mark asked for a late check-out until 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. the following day. Staff at the front desk refused to give him an answer and failed to improve customer experience. They said it was too late and he would have to ask again at 7:00 a.m.

Mark was in the lobby promptly at 7:00 a.m. But when he asked for a short check-out extension, the front office manager flatly refused and failed to improve customer experience. He said, “If I give you a late check out, others will want one, too.”

Mark appealed for just two hours to complete his seminar and get his family with small children safely packed and out of the room. The manager replied, “If you leave late, you’ll mess up the schedule for our cleaners.”

Ouch! So much for customer service when leaving the House of the Mouse. Too bad the front office manager didn’t know that last impressions are lasting impressions and that failing to improve customer experience can cost more in the long run.

In contrast…

Raffles Hotel now has a policy of flexible check-in and check-out so their valued guests may enjoy a full 24-hour stay, no matter what time they check in, or out. Now that’s convenient. That’s hospitality. That’s impeccable value and does much to improve customer experience.

“Raffles 24” is now available in all Raffles hotels and resorts. No wonder they are among the fastest-growing and most-admired brands in the world.

Note: Implementing this policy requires more communication between various teams and departments. But what are your staff and systems really for? Scheduling cleaners or taking care of customers?

Key Learning Point To Improve Customer Experience

The purpose of your staff and system is to serve your customers better. When customers make requests outside normal procedures, your job is to tweak the system, not the customer to improve customer experience.

Action Steps To Improve Customer Experience

When customers ask for service outside your normal procedures, you have a choice: either teach your customers to follow procedures (through advance advice and information) or adapt your procedures to please your customers (through innovation and continuous improvement). To improve customer experience it often pays to tweak the system.


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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

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