Memorable customer service… Where’s the hot towel?

Memorable customer service… Where’s the hot towel?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Memorable customer service… Where’s the hot towel?

Ten years ago I checked into the Hawaii Prince Hotel. When I got to the front desk, someone smiled and said, “Aloha” and handed me a hot-steamed towel (the size of a washcloth). It was just the refreshment I needed. I wondered why all hotels didn’t do this. It’s a towel-and all hotels have them. They just don’t know how to use them. This one created a memory that has lasted ten years.

As it turns out, there’s a company called White Towel Services ( They supply disposable towels, lightly scented cotton towels, and towel warmers. We’ve been using the hot-steamed towels in our office, and surprisingly, they seem to wipe away stress.

Every once in a while someone will “need a towel.” When they do, they go over to the little white towel warmer and pick one out. Each day we pick a scent (lemon, lavender, or peach mango), and I confess to using one every once in a while. It feels good. When it’s cold outside, we use the hot towels. When it’s warm outside, we can put them in the refrigerator. Either way, it seems to bring instant relief and relaxation when you take a one-minute break and “towel yourself.”

Think about it for a second. If you’ve ever flown first class, most airlines provide a hot towel (washcloth), and using one makes you feel good.

I wonder what the magic is? It’s just a wet towel, yet it seems to have a mystical power that calms and relaxes. In my opinion, it’s a combination of taking a mental break and adding a relaxing physical activity. And it’s cleansing, almost like you’re wiping away the cobwebs inside, even though you’re wiping away the grit outside. Whatever it is, it works.

Several thoughts: Do you have a “towel”? The Hawaii Prince uses the towel to separate themselves from other hotels by making their customers feel good after a long flight. It’s a signature-a customer statement. It basically says: “We understand you.” I am amazed (but not surprised) that every hotel in


doesn’t do this. It seems so blatantly obvious.

And don’t forget your internal customers. Our team, our family, loves the towels. Our place is hectic. Everyone wants everything done yesterday. Customers make demands and the phone rings off the hook (kind of like your place). But we have an oasis where a hot towel is only a few steps away. Interesting thing about a hot towel: no matter who uses it, no matter when it’s used-as soon as that hot-steamed towel touches your face-the reaction is always the same: ahhhh!

Maybe that’s the secret. Maybe you need a few more “ahhhs” in your place. I can tell you that around our place, our towel machine is the wizard of “ahhhs.”

Jeffrey Gitomer, the author of The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling, is President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at He can be reached by phone: 704/333-1112 or e-mail:

c 2004 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112