I was so privileged to meet Mr. Merril Yu, my new mentor in customer service. He's so warm and approachable. Armed with more than 20 years of experience in luxury hotels around the globe, he threw us precious insights and true-to-life examples about excellent customer service yesterday in the seminar "Putting the WOW in your Customer Service". That's indeed a WOW to me.
Here are my take away from the talk:
1. He had brilliant mentors.
Imagine being surrounded by not-so-crazy guys. Discipline and Details are essential to win the customer service game. These guys were keen, observant, problem solvers and pro-employee. I suppose his mentors played a major role in his life because Merril still carries their principles and disciplines until today. Having a mentor in your professional life will take you 5 steps ahead of those who learn by their own. Leaders who commit their time to groom their subordinates are not insecure. Their goal is to raise new breed of high performers. That's what I see in Merril. Every insight in his subject matter is a precious gem to me.
2. The 3 A' of Jim.
Merril's mentor is Stan. And, Stan's mentor is Jim. Now, let's define Jim's 3 A's:
Be excellent on the first engagement with the customer. From the greeting, telephone,hand shake, carrying the luggage, color of the curtain...etc. WOW them in everything. Give them the unexpected.
Be aggressive and consistent with your excellence in marketing, PR, room service, dining service, etc. This is what you do while you engage with the customer and they will expect you to be as good as you promise.
And, don't forget to WOW them even after the sale. Let them feel you care for them in an extraordinary way. Let them know you that are prepared for their comeback.
3. He treated his subordinates as future leaders.
This is so important to me. You know, Merril carefully watched the people he worked with through the years, specially those who directly reported to him. He showed us tons of photos of those who rose from the bottom and made it on top. What a mentor! Until now, he is still in the business of building people.
One example that I won't forget. He asked us to distinguish the black shoe polish from the brown polish. We thought of having 2 containers to separate them and mark it. Behold, he just dimmed some lights and asked us if we can identify the color of the floor.
Now, I got his thinking process. WE REALLY HAVE TO PLACE OUR FOOT ON THE CUSTOMER'S SHOES TO BE ABLE TO GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT AND NEED WITH EXCELLENT SERVICE. Or else, we'll be like someone who works in a dim light.
Let me end this post with Jim's saying...