Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Hyatt is trying too hard (why loyalty is earned)
Going the extra mile for customers is a hallmark of great brands worldwide. The Ritz Carlton has become famous for it. More recently, so has Zappos.com.
Last week, Hyatt Hotels announced they'd really like to be known for doing extraordinary things for their customers as well. CEO Mark Hoplamazian announced a program called "random acts of generosity", in which the hotel chain will randomly pick up the tab for various amenities and services during your stay.
The concept is good, but Hyatt's trying a bit too hard. And it probably won't work.
Why is the Ritz Carlton known worldwide for exceptional, above-and-beyond service? Because it's core to their brand DNA, it's something they practice daily with every single employee, and it's something they've been doing for years.
Zappos.com has less of a history, but is equally committed to an organization-wide customer focus. Read anything from their CEO (or even their employees) and it's clear this is not a random or new initiative. It's just how they do business.
These are enviable positions, but they didn't come easy. They were earned.
Hyatt's not there. This program, ironically, could work the opposite of how they intended. Say you're sitting at a Hyatt bar, and the guy next to you has his tab picked up by the hotel as part of the program. You, however, are still paying. How does that make you feel? What are you going to tell your friends?
Even the guy who had his tab picked up can't guarantee his friends the same service when they next visit a Hyatt.
Stay at the Ritz, or buy shoes from Zappos, and the same high bar for customer service applies to everyone.
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