Services—not just service—are key for luxury brands

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So you’re shopping online, and you’re on the fence about a pair of shoes. If you buy them, and you don’t like them, it will cost you $10 to return them.

Do you order? Maybe, maybe not. But what if returns cost nothing? Wouldn’t you be a lot more likely to order, knowing that your purchase was risk-free?

Smart companies know that generous return policies allow customers to shop more freely—and with less stress over decision-making. And in the long run, that can increase the bottom line.

More important, however, it also can enhance consumer perception of those companies. Because today, services matter just as much as service—especially in the hospitality industry, where personalized services and options have become more important than ever.

Say you’re a hotel looking to attract Millennials. Can your guests text a room-service order or reservation to your restaurant? Do you have a branded smartphone app to help them fully utilize your property’s features? If not, they may feel as if you aren’t catering to them at all.

Even traditional tactics like offering free samples or trial periods can be positioned as “gifts,” making customers feel special while you give them the opportunity to become attached to your product or service. For example, the spa at a high-end lodge could send a special blend of oils to a client’s room after their massage. That does more than promote those oils—it creates goodwill for the spa and even the lodge itself. It also builds relationships, rather than simply gaining one-time sales.

Your customers know you value the money they spend with your company. An emphasis on services shows them you value the experience they have with your company as well.

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