Great leaders think more about hospitality than customer or client service. This distinction is critical. Customer service focuses on delivering an exceptional product or service. Hospitality, on the other hand, is the degree to which a customer or client believes you are an advocate for their experience. In other words, the customer comes to believe you are emotionally on their side. As restauranteur Danny Meyer likes to say, “Hospitality is present when something happens for you. It is absent when something happens to you.”
Leaders are in the hospitality business, whether they think they are or not. The best leaders always advocate for others in a consistent way: they promote actions and policies that make people feel special. When hospitality is a central value, customers and team members alike feel respected by the choices leaders make.
Shifting from a service to a hospitality mindset requires leaders to understand what it means to feel welcomed. No one feels like a stranger or an outsider when hospitality reigns supreme. Inviting people into the conversation and including them in the experience is what hospitality is all about. When leaders act with hospitality, everyone around them feels important. Maybe that’s why they call it “customer delight.” When attempting to achieve “delight” in everyday experience, leaders champion hospitality.
Are you delightful?