Emma Brown

Being aware of, and tapping into, customers’ emotional touch points is not just a nice thing to do – it can turn a client into a champion.

Bring customer service back

I’m bringing service back, yeah! And all the customers don’t know how to act, yeah!

That’s the song I’m singing this week (in my best Justin Timberlake voice). I’m actually singing a few songs because it’s been a big week for me. I got engaged to the Love of My Life on Saturday, and celebrated my birthday on Tuesday. Can’t see my desk for all the flowers, cards and pressies…

Anyway, that’s not what I’m writing about, although the engagement did prompt this week’s blog.

You see, after the big proposal, my sore-kneed fiancé (I love saying that word) booked us into a suite at a well-known city hotel. We were all loved up as we approached the check-in desk.

When it came to our turn, I excitedly told the manager behind the counter that we were engaged. He looked up for a moment, congratulated us, and then told us sorry, your suite isn’t ready yet.

Unflustered by this, we headed up to the lounge to wait for our room. We called our families, cried a bit, laughed a little, and waited a lot.

Finally, at 5pm, a girl came up to us and told us our room was ready. Check in was meant to be 2pm, so if it wasn’t for our elation, we would have been very upset (remember we’re paying for a suite here).

We were positive there’d be some consolation for having to wait three hours for our room, but when we got to our suite there was nothing. No “sorry we kept you waiting”. No “congratulations on your engagement”. Nothing.

It got me thinking about customer service and making an experience wonderful. The manager of this hotel had two potential champions standing right in front of him. If he’d taken the bait, and taken responsibility for the service lapses, you could be guaranteed that we’d be telling everyone about the hotel (for all the right reasons).

Your customer’s experience of your business is heightened when there’s a lot of emotion involved.

Think of how you felt when you got engaged or married; celebrated a major birthday; or sold a family home. If a company can learn to harness this emotional energy for the better, they can turn their customers into the most loyal of fans.

My tip for this week? Take a minute to write down all your customer touch points, and then work out how to make the experience memorable for them.

Do you sell houses? Make sure a welcome hamper awaits every new home buyer on their first night. Do you sell cars? Find out their favourite music choice and have it playing when they switch on the engine.

And if you’re in the hospitality game and a newly engaged couple walk in, just give them a bottle of champagne for goodness sake!

Emma Brown, at 27, has bought three businesses and sold one. She is Chief Chick of Business Chicks – Australia’s leading community for women – and Managing Director of Last Thursday Club – the monthly event for big thinking professionals. She’s on the board of Entrepreneurs Organisation, avoids coffee but still talks fast, and lives in Sydney with her entrepreneur fiancé.


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