Service Innovation or Gimmick?

Services have to provide obvious benefits and value to customers. But unfortunately that's not always the case.

On my boat trip around Manhattan we had a wonderful meal accompanied by a spectacular view of the city. In the course of the evening I was surprized by a “service innovation” in the restroom (actually this innovation can be experienced in London as well). A friendly gentleman handed me a towel after I had washed my hands, not only a service for me but for all the visitors to the “gents”. Of course for a tip.

Since then I have been wondering if the trip organizer just wanted to be sure that everybody washed their hands before leaving the restroom. Otherwise, I can’t really see the benefit of this service.

If someone offers a service, then care should be taken that this service generates a perceivable value for the customer. What happens if this is not the case? The service is quickly seen as a “gimmick”, something useless or even worse, something annoying.

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