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20150721_152228My husband and I recently spent a week vacationing on the beautiful island of Crete. Despite the financial challenges the citizens of Greece are facing, we were unfailingly welcomed with smiles, generosity and meraki. ‘Meraki’ is a Greek word that is somewhat difficult to translate. Perhaps the best definitions of meraki are “to do something with soul, creativity, or love,” or in other words “to put something of yourself into what you’re doing.”

Knowing in advance of Greece’s fiscal plight and that we’d be staying in the quaint Cretan village of Koutoufari, I did not have high expectations of luxury customer service. I was proved wrong… very wrong. Every cafe owner, every waiter, every salesperson, everyone who served or helped us in some way did so with the gracious being of their soul. Their joy shone through every action, as did their pure intention to please their guests.

My mother was Greek and I’d traveled to Athens a few times before, but it was not until our visit to Crete that I learned this magical word. Though meraki is often used to describe cooking or preparing a meal, it can also mean arranging a room, choosing decorations, or setting an elegant table. Because meraki comes from the heart, it is authentic. Because meraki involves putting yourself into what you do, it’s about paying attention to the details. I never thought there was one word that summed up all the factors of luxury customer service, but meraki seems to fit. The interesting thing is that meraki has nothing to do with expense. Most of our meals were simple and our accommodations were not extravagant. Yet we felt as though we were being treated as royalty.

Whenever I talk about luxury customer service, I speak about the importance of grace and elegance. I’ve now added another word—meraki! As a luxury associate, think about how you can add soul, creativity and love to the service you deliver.