In the service industry, we often hear the terms “customer service” and “hospitality” mentioned in the same context. However, there are vast differences between the two concepts. The distinction between the two can mean the difference between mere adequacy and excellence.
The question you need to ask yourself is, what does your business aspire to? If it’s simply to provide customers with the bare minimum of what they need (albeit efficiently), then hospitality is probably not so much of a concern. However, if you aspire to a higher level of service and want to be counted among the top players in your niche, hospitality is key.
Customer service …
So, let’s look at the distinctions between customer service and hospitality:
Customer service, if we were to define it in a clinical sense, is simply providing people with the assistance they need to exact a specific outcome.
Let’s say you run a restaurant. A customer arrives at your door and there is a sign posted that says: “seat yourself”. The customer takes a seat, a server comes to take their order and brings it to them when it’s ready. Once finished, the server presents them with the bill, upon which they pay and leave.
If we were to reimagine this scenario from a hospitality perspective, it would look more like this:
The customer arrives and is greeted warmly by a host/hostess, who then escorts them to a table, sets them up with menus, and engages in pleasantries. The customer is asked if they would like to sit by the window.
Upon seating, they are asked if they would like a beverage while they wait for the server. The host/hostess informs them of their server’s name and that he/she will be along soon to tell them about the day’s specials.
When taking the order, the server suggests one of his/her favorite dishes or beverages and asks specific questions to find out more about what the guests enjoy. During the meal, the server sees a camera on the table and offers to take a photograph. After delivering the meal, a manager will check in to ensure that the dish is prepared to the customer’s liking and that they are completely satisfied.
Once finished, the server offers dessert menus, coffee, and/or after-dinner drinks, as appropriate. When the check is requested, it is presented with mints. On the way out the door, the host/hostess thanks the diners and expresses the hope that they will return soon.
Vastly different scenarios – and not dependent on the type of restaurant, either. Hospitality can be delivered at any level, from a neighborhood diner where the servers know their customers by name to an ice cream store where the clerks are passionate about new flavors.
Bottom line – service is essential, but people remember hospitality.
Hospitality is about how you feel
So, you could say that customer service vs. hospitality is what you can do for them vs. how you can make them feel.
Hospitality assumes that the people delivering it are on your side. They have your back. They make an effort to understand what you want and do their best to deliver it. Hospitality is about the experience, and it is always within your power to bring it.
Business Workspaces in El Dorado Hills is your hospitality headquarters! Drop by for a tour today and learn more about what we do and how we do it.