Do you allow customers to have it their way?

On my recent 2.5-week trip to Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, I had the blessing of staying in 5-star hotels. However, there was a notable difference in how each treated its customers.

In Cambodia, my room had wooden shutters between the shower and the bedroom, a common style in this part of the world. I preferred the shutters open to allow natural light into the bathroom. (There was a shower curtain to ensure no water splashed into the bedroom.) And there was a small table which slid over the couch to use when eating or working on the couch.

Every day I would open the shutters and move the table to a more desired location. Every day the maid would return these to their “proper” positions — where her boss had told her they should be. I understand you need standard operating procedures in a classy hotel to ensure certain levels of service. However, that means that the guest has little say in how s/he wants to experience the room. For a week-long stay, it becomes irritating to continually return the room to how you want it vs. how the hotel thinks it should be.

In Myanmar, the maid took note of how I liked things and enhanced them. I hung my nightgown on a hook in the bathroom. She hung it on a hanger on the hook. In the bathroom was a small tray on which the wash cloths were placed. I found this the perfect place to hold my jewelry. So the second day, she didn’t remove my jewelry, but instad placed the wash clothes close by.

Do you notice how your customers use your product/service? Do you allow them some choice in how it’s used, or do you insist on it being the “proper” way — your way? You’ll gather more fans if you do the former rather than the latter.