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Hospitality v. Customer Service

I've often wondered about the difference between customer service and hospitality, and here’s some conclusions that I’ve come to.

Customer service is when you simply read the handbook. For example, answering the phone with, “Good morning (company name). How can I help you?” Hospitality is saying the exact same words but with a sense of graciousness and a smile on your face.

Here’s a quote to ponder on this topic…

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Recently, I had a procedure at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. I was there from 5:30am-7:30pm, and I wanted to share the experience I had from a hospitality perspective. From Eric, who checked me in full of graciousness, to Joan who called herself Joan of Arc, to the singing nurse who took my blood, to Eddie who rolled me on the gurney into the operating room telling funny jokes along the way to make me feel more at ease.

From the moment I entered that hospital, I felt so taken care of. When I woke up, I was greeted by the ultimate hospitable human - Richard, my nurse.

He was so gracious and kind. When he heard me whisper to Dori that I needed something, he ran to grab it. If I coughed, he ran to my bedside to check on me. In a place that makes you nervous to begin with, having someone there who cares makes all the difference in the world. All of these people gave a shit and cared about me as a human. They provided hospitality, not just customer service.

So how does this relate to our industry? Closing escrow may not be as intense as having a medical procedure done in a hospital, but it can be an experience that creates anxiety. And, that’s why we can’t just provide customer service. We cannot treat someone like a number or a file.

I’ve talked about communication and how important tone and body language is. So, let’s talk about tone. What is your tone? Are you showing customer service or hospitality when talking to clients?

Serving everyone that we talk to and serve - our people, partners, and communities - with hospitality helps us achieve our vision of creating raving fans out of everyone that we touch!

I think Walt Disney said it best, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”

Life is good, and I am here if you want to talk. -- Jeff

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