Learning the Art of Personalized and value-added service

In his classic book, "Marketing Genius", Peter Fisk has described many aspects of Marketing Management in a lucid manner. He has done so with what he would call "Being Intuitive" in connecting with customers. This has been explained with the help of a diagram. The most significant aspects of such "intuitive" service delivery are sought to be explained in some detail in this article.


There are many books on Marketing Management. Only a few are simply down to earth and practical. Written by an expert who has had several years of practical experience, the book " Marketing Genius" by Peter Fisk, published by Capstone Publishing Limited, England, eminently fits the bill as one of the best with strong insights that anyone can relate to, in terms of his or her own experience of services across the spectrum. One can refer to www.fairfox.in for special Indian offers.

The six important aspects of "Being intuitive" have been explained through a diagram on page 271 of the book, as shown below-

intuitive service

We will take the quotes from the text in the same manner as they appear and then extrapolate the same in practical contexts. The six aspects explained in the diagram are; a) Consider the service b) Doing service c) What do customers want d) Knowing service e) What makes you special and 6) Being service

Consider the service

"Understand the aspects of the service, the promise that has been made and what customers expect".

The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation has made fairly impressive strides in this aspect. Their bookings are always full. The only main advantage is that there is a big scope for religious tourism in Tamil Nadu, and since the costs are quite reasonable, the foreigners are always hooked to the various temples. On any given day, it is estimated that at least three hundred tourists arrive to see the majestic Madurai Meenakshi temple and further explore aspects of the culture of local people. This is more so during Pongal time. ( the statistics have been obtained from the locals near the temple).

Similarly, I was really happy to note that the service during lunch good, at Benz Park, a four-star hotel at T.Nagar Chennai. Those who rendered the service were all formally dressed and attended to each customer in an individualized manner. The experience was very good in terms of what each customer wanted and what he got in the time spent over lunch. The buffet lunch was well spread out and care was taken to ask for the customer feedback.

Doing service

"Define the processes and requirements for 'doing' service delivery to deliver the brand promise."

One of the best examples in this regard is one of India's biggest retailer of electronic goods. The name is Vasanth&Co. This is an outfit that clearly understands customer requirements. The EMI schemes are available aplenty and the customers are explained every single technical detail of any product on display. Each of these processes is fairly standardized and any deviation in terms of quality of service delivery is not tolerated at all. This organization has several branches in Tamil Nadu and in each of these branches, the standards of the processes -- the technical explanation, the individual customer preferences and how they are catered to and so on, are well established. The HR department is quite good and the number of training programs enables the continuous upgrading of service value.

What do customers want

"Consider the objective of the service interventions, and why it matters to the different customers". There is a high standard restaurant called Ananda Inn in the heart of Vellore. It is a nice place to have dinner. The vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants are separate. The managers know exactly what the customers want and attention is paid to minute detail. For example, a customer wanted a side dish to be served without any onion or garlic. This was immediately done. For the three of us, we had to spend something like Rs.800 for a decent vegetarian dinner, but it was worth the money.

Similarly, one has to just visit the famous Annapoorna hotel in the evenings on any day at Sai Baaba Colony to just witness the top-notch customer service and the variety that is on offer. The waiters note down each order and inform the customer about its availability. Since everything is prepared hot and served, the customers do not mind the time taken to get the food on their table.

Knowing' service

"Deliver the service in a more thoughtful 'knowing' way, relevant to the brand and customer"

Guests are treated like Kings at the Lulu complex in Thrissur in Kerala. The rooms are maintained so well. Every single thing is available. For bulk bookings, personalized care is simply superb. For particular family functions, the outside contract catering parties are allowed to cook food under strict supervision. The upkeep of the dining hall is really good. The relationship managers keep on asking any particular requirement and get that done. For example, in particular marriage, two elderly people wanted a pure vegetarian "Jain thali" without no onion and no garlic. This is was promptly prepared and served as well.

Similarly, my personal experience with the Sterling Resorts at Ooty, the queen of hill stations, was splendid. Utmost care was taken to ensure that the value of the brand was reflected in the quality of customer service. Personal service requests are done with a good deal of humility and humor. Everything
was perfectly laid out. Though there was quite a bit of standardization, one could also see a good deal of individualization, in terms of understanding what exactly the customers wanted at any point in time. And doing that without any fuss.

What makes you special

"Reflect on what makes you special and how you could engage people in the way you deliver service".

Hotel Saravana Bhavan, Chennai, has always been top-notch when it comes to customer engagement. It has many offerings that cater to all categories of customers. For example, there is a banana meal that would cost Rs.175 some three years ago, at their T. Nagar branch. This is always a busy branch and the meal was served in air-conditioned comfort (the cost is being revised every year and now it could easily cost Rs.250/). Everything is unlimited and one can go on asking for additional helpings. The taste is very good too. Saravana Bhavan has always made it mandatory to obtain feedback and corrective action is taken for even minor problems in customer service or food quality. The hotel has grown into an international chain and the manner in which every item (even the side dishes for example) are standardized throughout the world is one clear differentiator. The masala dosa tastes exactly the same in Dubai as it does in T.Nagar. That is the world-class level of service delivery that makes the offerings so special. The word of mouth publicity keeps this brand growing by leaps and bounds.

Being service

"Learn to listen, observe and empathize in order to 'be' with customers every time you serve them."

Fincare Small Finance Bank is a late entrant in the banking space. Within just four years, it is already a scheduled bank. One phone call and the relationship manager would call up and fix an appointment at the most convenient time of the customer. A few forms need to be completed just once. The 'welcome packet contains the ATM card and the net banking connection details. Everything is done so quickly. The service standards are simply superb. Their net banking is as good or if not better than foreign banks. The rest, as they say, is history. This history has meant compounded growth in profits, year after year. There is so much to learn from the service standards of this bank.


Services that are always personalized and delivered with a personal touch are difficult to forget for any customer, anywhere in the world. The customer is always king. In the changed circumstances, the ones that really stand out are those that are able to offer personalized and value-added service. The aforesaid examples quoted in the discussion clearly stand out.

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Author: Umesh10 Feb 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 6

The service sector has changed phenomenally in the last few decades and the customer has also become very vigilant and alert about what he deserves to get in this changing scenario. The discounts or cash backs have been a usual thing in this environment and more than that the psychological satisfaction and ego have also become prominent desires of the customers to be fulfilled by the suppliers and service providers. Many service providers have learned this secret and are trying to woo their customers in myriads of ways and customer also shares with others this treatment with pride.

In this age of home delivery, the value-added services have their own charm and many small things have come to the forefront like gift wrapping and personalised messages that are a great psychological factor in human relations. A good message delivered with the gift has an impressive effect on the recipient. It is good that some service providers have come to know these intricacies of the business today and are devising new ways to please the customer.

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