Do You Know the 5 Steps to Excellent Customer Service? - Step 2

August 13, 2018

Do You Know the 5 Steps to Excellent Customer Service?
By Diane Van Wyngarden, Tourism Specialist

Men shaking handsIn our last newsletter, we introduced a series of articles about our customer service workshops, and the five steps a business must do to provide excellent service to its customers. In the May, 2018 newsletter, we highlighted the first step of excellent customer service as “Make it Your Own”. Define what you want your customers to say about you, and strategically create your business’s unique culture in a way that makes you stand out from your competition.

Step two is “Make it PERSONAL”. Greet customers by name if possible. Customers will become loyal to you and are more likely to forgive any future problems when they feel a personal connection with you. Listen for your customers’ personal likes and dislikes, and provide these without their asking during their next visit. No detail is too small to impress a customer.

For example, my motor coach group was enjoying breakfast at the Hotel Julien Dubuque, when a person in my group said he had a problem. “There is no hot sauce on the buffet table”, he said. “I can’t eat eggs without hot sauce.” I asked our server for hot sauce. “For breakfast?” she asked incredulously; but quickly returned with the requested bottle of liquid fire.

The next morning, a bottle of hot sauce appeared on the breakfast table without my asking. That was great customer service. However, an example of providing excellent service by making it PERSONAL happened two years later at this same hotel.

I was bringing another motor coach group to Eastern Iowa, and I called the Hotel Julien Dubuque for a bid. The sales person quoted a price and a suggested breakfast menu, ending with the words, “And of course, we will have hot sauce on the tables.” Wow. I had forgotten about the hot sauce request of two years earlier. This was excellent customer service.

I had been using a different hotel, but this attention to detail won my booking and also my continued loyalty. When your business pays attention to individual preferences and details, customers feel more confident that you will take care of any larger problems. Obviously, this hotel keeps a record of each group, and our server had added this detail to our record. Her action benefitted the sales office. Use a record system for customers if that works with your type of business. Train your front line staff to observe and record customer preferences, so you can impress customers and create their loyalty.

Watch for the next Customer Service steps in future newsletter issues.

  1. Make it YOUR OWN
  2. Make it PERSONAL
  3. Make it EFFICIENT
  4. Make it SATISFYING
  5. Make it MEMORABLE

See more information about our Customer Service Workshops at

What innovative customer service ideas do you offer to your customers, or have you personally experienced at an Iowa Agritourism business? Let us know. We may use your example in an upcoming workshop or article. Contact Diane Van Wyngarden at