I was traveling recently on an extended business trip with stops in Los Angeles, Corpus Christi and Mexico City. I experienced some excellent customer service during this trip from National and from Marriott and some “not so good” customer service at another hotel brand.
During my stop in LA, I mistakenly left a fairly valuable piece of artwork sitting near the shuttle bus stop at National’s LAX car terminal. It was one of those absent minded moments. I was carrying a lot of “cargo” from Calgary to LA for my daughter who is going to college at the Art Institute and after I got the cargo off the shuttle onto the sidewalk, I loaded everything (except the artwork) onto a cart and headed to my rental car.
I did not realize that the artwork had been left behind until later that afternoon when I met my daughter at the hotel I was staying at and could not find it in the rental car. I immediately called National and they sent someone out to look for the artwork. They called me back within an hour and told me they had found it and had placed it in safekeeping until I could get there to pick it up. My daughter and I drove back to National at LAX and were extremely relieved and pleased when the artwork was delivered to us unscathed!
That was customer service! I can’t tell you how many times I have been unable to get the person at the other end of the phone to leave their desk and look to see if a particular product was in stock or if a lost item was turned into lost and found. What usually happens is you get transferred to another department and put on hold indefinitely. National at LAX was different . . . they actually had staff that cared enough to leave their desk and go look for a lost item and then hold it securely until it could be reclaimed.
It seems basic but this is how you get repeat business! I know I will do my best to always rent from National because this valuable piece of artwork was returned to my daughter and not stolen by a disgruntled or disengaged employee!
From LA I few to Corpus Christi and was staying at a well known hotel chain right on the waterfront. Unfortunately, the hotel staff were not nearly as customer focused as National was. I ended up changing hotel rooms three times in five nights due to a myriad of issues with the rooms. Each room adjustment came complete with about 30 minutes of standing at the counter due to the lack of staff or poor training of the staff. I made a mental note to never stay at this chain again!
From Corpus, I flew into Mexico City. Here I was staying at the JW Marriott hotel. Because I travel a lot and typically try to stay with Marriott, I have enough “status” with them that I am granted access to their concierge lounge which comes complete with breakfast and dinner. This is already a good example of customer service! However, taking it one step further, the attendant in the lounge during the breakfast rush, Janete, was a very personable individual. She learned my name on the first morning and that I preferred orange juice rather than coffee. For the next 5 mornings she greeted me by name and served me OJ without me even having to ask. The amazing thing was that she did this for everyone that came into the lounge. Janete is an excellent example of an engaged employee that loves her job and treats her customers well. I will continue to go out of my way to stay at Marriott hotels because of that experience.
The question is then, what are you doing as a leader or business owner to provide excellent customer service that will result in customers for life? If you are providing service like this, you are empowering your employees, by your example, to provide the same level of customer service even when you are not around . . . just like National and Marriott did for me.