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Qualities of an Exceptional Customer Service Hospitality Employee

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In the hospitality industry, as in other organizations, exceptional customer service is key to the success of the business. Exceptional service goes beyond the standards that customers expect, helping build the highest levels of satisfaction and encouraging guests to return to the venue. This contributes to customer retention and helps organizations grow revenue and build profitable, long-term businesses.

Commitment to the Customer

Employees who deliver exceptional service in the hospitality sector are committed to making guests feel valued. Employees might offer a surprise gift, such as a room upgrade at a hotel or comped dessert at a restaurant, if they become aware of a special occasion during a customer’s visit, for example. They might make special travel arrangements if a guest has been delayed during a stay.

Team Player

Employees must be aware of their role in the bigger picture in a customer's experience. They must also understand how other members of the team contribute and provide them with support. Outstanding employees are willing to take on tasks outside their personal responsibility if that creates a better experience for the customer. If a hungry guest arrives at a hotel when its restaurant is closed, the employee might help the catering staff get together a meal or order food from an outside supplier.

Interpersonal Skills

Exceptional employees have excellent interpersonal skills, enabling them to understand customers’ needs and concerns and put them at ease. If a guest is disappointed or angry about the condition of a room, for example, employees can empathize in finding the reasons behind the concerns. They may arrange alternative accommodation and offer a gift or other compensation to the guest. They also follow up the incident to ensure that the customer is fully satisfied with the new arrangement and they encourage other team members to remedy the original problem.

Local Knowledge

Guests appreciate the knowledge an outstanding customer service employee can offer. A delegate to a conference center, unfamiliar with local area, might want to know about theaters and other places of interest. Hotel guests might need information on the city's train or flight departures. Restaurant customers appreciate employees who find a cab after a late-night meal. Exceptional employees keep up to date with local knowledge so they can offer helpful advice and enhance the customer’s experience.


To deliver exceptional customer service, employees are empowered to take any action necessary to achieve customer satisfaction. Employees familiarize themselves with their company’s policies and procedures and, with the approval of their managers, are able to take specific actions in the event of a problem. That delegation of responsibility makes them feel empowered and confident they can deal promptly with problems and demonstrate the company’s commitment to complete customer satisfaction.


Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.

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