Luxury. The dark side spells opulence, conceit, and gluttony. It can be also be associated with excellence, majesty, and worth. It is the choice of the rich and famous and the aspiration of wannabes. “Luxury is fundamentally a state of mind,” says David Williams, North American director of The Orient Express. It is foremost an expression of excellence—particularly acts that exhibit fine craftsmanship, obvious pride, superior training, and a perpetual attention to detail.

What if you examine your service through the lens of what luxury customers expect to discover applications relevant for your customers?

  • Luxury seeking customers know they are different and search for service that acknowledges that difference. This does not necessarily imply arrogance or superiority. The essence of innovative service is uniqueness. What would you need to do to make the experience feel to your customers like it came wrapped in colorful paper with a striking bow?
  • Luxury seeking customers count on quality throughout and most know it when they see it. Cutting corners in perceivable service dimensions will net an overall mediocre experience. Innovative service is grounded in a commitment to serving the best. What would “making the experience laced with extras” look like to your customers?
  • Luxury seeking customers value classy over flashy, authentic over pretentious, and personalized without being invasive. Err on the side of being real and respectful. Classy service is both a subtle and obvious attention to detail. What would service with a sense of class mean to your customers. Make the sprinkles you put on your customers’ experiences the color purple.
  • Luxury seeking customers are enamored by extremes…are as stirred by the magnificent painting in a hotel lobby as the simple silk mat on the floor by the bed. It is as much about the rareness of place as the brilliance of practice. How can you show customers small examples of elegant excess and unexpected treasures?

What makes luxury luxurious is that it is unique, not uniform, just like innovative service. “Luxury customers seek stimulation, not standardization. Since they have likely ’been there, done that’ they are drawn to the potential of inventive encounters and unexpected episodes,” says James Brown, president and CEO of Brownstone Hotels & Resorts. “Luxury customers avoid cookie cutter experiences shoe horned into a setting like an economy tour group,” Brown said. Take a page from luxury experience makers and view your customer experiences through a rich set of lens!