The Hot Soup Surprise Was Great Customer Service!


by Martha Brooke | December 9, 2015

80% of CEOs believe their CX is superior. Only 8% of their customers agree. That's a lot of bad Customer Listening. Let's raise the bar!
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Not too long ago, while checking into a hotel on a damp San Francisco night, the front desk clerk noticed my sniffling and asked if I wanted chicken soup. “That’d be great,” I replied, assuming it was just a sympathetic comment and not an actual offer. I was, therefore, quite surprised when only a few minutes later, there was a knock on my door and a server brought in a steaming bowl of soup.

Now this, I thought, is great customer service.

Why did that chicken soup feel like great customer service, even to a seasoned and rather skeptical CX analyst like me?

It Was About the Surprise

In this case, that bowl of soup was the perfect example of a customer experience that built value—for the hotel chain and for the customer. Guests expect comfortable pillows and a friendly concierge, but they don’t expect complimentary soup when they’re sick. Therefore, this interaction didn’t just satisfy—it created a positive, memorable moment, while showcasing the hotel’s brand as caring and customer-centric.

Building Value Through Customer Service

There are thousands of ways to build value: sometimes it’s what you say, other times it’s how you say it, and sometimes it’s in the amenities.

Building value to create customers who are more than just “satisfied” is critical, because only emotionally engaging experiences correlate with a lift in loyalty and revenue (ask us for the research by Gallup and others).

Every interaction can build value—but you won’t consistently accomplish this through random luck. That’s why you need a plan to strategically build value into each customer’s experience.

Great Customer Service Supports the Brand

Providing soup to sick guests brings the brand into the customer’s lived experience­—and makes the brand more than just a logo and mission statement.

Another way to build value is by providing useful information and tips to customers, which highlights your company’s expertise. Similarly, cross-selling your existing products and services ensures that your customers’ needs are met—including those they don’t realize they have.

The point is that your customer service should add value for you AND your customers; it should never just be a cost. Chicken soup is one way that one company added value and created great customer service—but the options are endless!

Start adding value. Learn about Customer Experience Planning by Interaction Metrics.

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