The BIG Idea File: 5-Star Customer Service – 5-Star Sales and Service Tactics to Wow Your Customers


Admit it. What you love about staying in a 5-Star hotel or eating at an elegant 5-Star restaurant is the customer service. No one can argue that they REALLY know how to treat their customers.

But what can we, as entrepreneurs who are not in the hotel or restaurant business, learn from their 5-Star service approach? A lot when you look behind the service programs and examine the driving principles for those little gems of wisdom.

5-Star Sales and Service Tactics to Wow Your Customers

#1: Think of Absolutely EVERYTHING – Tell me if this has ever happen to you. You are sitting down in a crowded restaurant and you can’t find a spot for your purse so you end up sticking it under your feet hoping no one accidentally steps on it or on your chair with you, which may pose a logistical problem depending on the size.

It seems like such a small detail, but one of my favorite restaurants came up with a solution: purse tables. It’s a small table that sits in between the chairs, out of the way of waiters and diners. It’s fixes a logistical problem for waiters by removing a tripping hazard and it pleases customers who really don’t want their purses crammed in an awkward location.

Ask yourself: are you missing anything big, small or otherwise that you could be doing to care for your customers? It doesn’t have to be a huge innovation – just a simple helpful tool.

#2: Make it Personal – You would think with complex data management systems that this helpful customer service scenario would happen more often, but surprisingly, it doesn’t.

You call down to place your morning room service order and low and behold, they have all the fussy details about cold milk with a straw, eggs poached medium and toast with no butter right there. All the room service attendant needs to do is confirm the details.

Often businesses collect customer data to better understand and target their customer base, but think about how that data can be used to make it more convenient for your customer to work with you.

#3: Walk in their Shoes – If you have ever had to send a meal back because it wasn’t cooked properly, you know how much it sucks to watch everyone else at your table eat while you wait.

Imagine how happy that same customer was to receive a bowl of soup to eat while waiting for the replacement order because it instantly handles the awkwardness of one person waiting while others eat.

What can you learn about how to better serve your customers by walking in their shoes? What inconveniences can be removed with a simple fix that would otherwise be missed when looking at the big picture?

#4: Add Custom Touches – One of the best service tactics you see in the hotel industry is the practice of finding out as many details as possible at the time of booking. It’s not the information gathering that counts – it’s what you do with it.

The conference hotel located in the heart of the downtown business district would not normally see a lot of pint-sized travelers, but when the booking request included a crib, it let the frontline staff know that a tiny traveler would be staying and the room came complete with a baby bathroom kit and milk and cookies.

Think about how you can customize the experience for the different segments within your target market. What can you do to make it easy and more comfortable for them to do business with you?

#5: Deliver the Unexpected – Too often 5-Star hotels and restaurants blend together in a blur of posh details and over-the-top touches. Important yes. Memorable not really.

That’s why the only spa lounge I vividly remember is the one that had a jelly bean dispenser sitting next to the usual spa fare of herbal tea, cucumber water and unsalted almonds.

What is something unexpected you can add to the regular customer service mix? It doesn’t have to be extraordinary to be memorable.


About Author

Carla Young, Publisher If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. During her early days as a mom entrepreneur, Carla made every single mistake in the book (and a few new ones for good measure). Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. After other mothers started asking how they too could enjoy her lifestyle, Carla launched to support moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!


  1. These are all great points @CarlaYoung:twitter ! Thanks for always being on-time in your delivery of excellent information! I appreciate you and all the efforts you put into MOMeo!

  2. Hi Carla. Fabulous advice. You’re spot on with each of those ips. Taking the time and a personal touch are so important in a world of fast, furious and generic. We always pop in a surprise for our girls and a hand written postcard. Orders arrive lovingly wrapped like a present. Everyone should feel special and it doesn’t take long. Keep the tips coming, they’re fabulous! Cheers. Anita (Sequins and Sand). 

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