On my last business trip to India I had the pleasure of staying at the Orange County Resort in Coorg outside, Bangalore in India. The Orange County experience is one that I will never forget as it was truly memorable.

A great welcome

It started with us arriving at reception to receive a traditional Indian welcome. This is where a hostess put the red colour dot on our foreheads and greeted us with the traditional ‘namaste’. Orange County is set amongst coffee plantations with cobblestone paths winding through the beautiful resort. Our rooms were spacious and comfortable and our stay at Orange County was very rejuvenating.

Exceptional food and amazing variety

The food was absolutely exquisite. Orange County provide a buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner. At every meal there were 25 to 30 different dishes. Around 7 to 8 of the most popular dishes stayed constant but the others changed at EVERY meal.

Staff that truly care

However, the most memorable thing about Orange County is their staff. Wherever we walked around Orange County all staff would make it a point to greet us whether they were security guards, gardeners or staff at reception. The activity co-ordinator would enthusiastically and passionately promote each night’s cultural event. The waiters were not only polite and prompt but very attentive. As a guest such behaviour made you feel as though your patronage was highly valued and that staff were committed to making the Orange County experience one you would never forget. In short you felt ‘spoilt’.

A sacred duty of care

A perfect example of this was the Ayurvedic massage offered at Orange County. Before the massage starts you’re introduced to the 2 masseurs who explain the process and benefits and then do something quite amazing – they inform you that will say a prayer before they start your massage. The prayer and the accompanying music creates an amazing ambience.

The fact that they pray before the massage makes you feel that they are not just ‘doing a job’ but that they have a ‘sacred duty of care’. This and the fact that they are personally committed to make the experience great by making sure you feel completely at ease creates an experience at a whole different level.

The 2 masseurs massage you at the same time and are in perfect harmony with one another. The quality of the massage is amazing and you walk away feeling amazingly relaxed and truly spoilt.

Looking back at my Orange County experience I have to say it was very memorable experience and I have since recommended it to several friends and family members. I also present this story when I conduct presentations at various marketing and management forums and seminars.

So what’s the key to their success???

The key is that they measure everything. They do this with a short customer survey of 5-7 questions. By everything I mean – every meal, massage, health spa experience, resort activity and finally when you leave. Filling the survey after every meal and after every activity might sound irritating but soon it becomes the norm. It is also becomes very easy to do as every aspect of the experience is great. By measuring every experience Orange County can not only gain insight on how to improve their experience but they can also ensure consistency throughout the whole Orange County experience.

Experiences that drive growth

The Orange County experience really is a perfect example of how listening to customers and taking action at an operational and granular level can create experiences which exceed expectations and are truly memorable. It is experiences like this which customers cannot stop recommending and businesses like these are the ones who break through the clutter in the marketplace to attract AND retain customers who actively recommend you to others. This is what is required to thrive in tough times.

Their Net Promoter Score would be absolutely HUGE!

I bet if Orange County conducted a Net Promoter Score survey they would achieve an extremely high score. This is not surprising as this is exactly how a Net Promoter Score operational survey works. NPS operational surveys are conducted at a granular level and track each key customer interaction so that the insight gained can be fed back to the right operational area for action and improvement. NPS loyalty leaders also have engaged staff.

Back to adequate service.

After my Orange County experience I then came back to Australia and went to one of the top Casino’s and experienced service that was best described as ‘transactional and bland’ and definitely not worthy of recommendation. So here you have two luxury hotel experiences. The Orange County experience drives growth via repurchase and positive word of mouth. The Casino experience was only transactional and therefore only an operational cost. Of course we have not even factored in the detrimental economic impact of negative word of mouth.

So here are a few key questions.

Are your customer experiences worthy of recommendation? OR are they just adequate and transactional?

Are your customer experiences generating incremental growth via increased loyalty and recommendation? OR are they merely an operational cost?

Are your staff truly engaged and personally committed to creating experiences worthy of recommendation? Or are they just doing a job?

Here is a link to the Orange County Website