Truly Excellent Customer Service

Superman

Heroic Service

Here is a great story that came back to me during a recent conversation about customer service.

My ability to recall it is even more remarkable because it happened over 10 years ago.

A hotel in San Francisco, in winter.

I booked in early and left my bag in the lobby. Unfortunately it was mistakenly loaded into a car with another departing guests baggage. The other guest drove 300 miles before  realising the mistake, he called the hotel.

The hotel called me (at work) and sent someone to my office to discuss what to do next. They took my details and checked out my fashion sense (none), went shopping, delivered a case with enough kit for 2 days and then sent a courier to collect the original case.

I continued my stay unaffected by this possible calamity.

That was not the end of the story. At the end of my stay they insisted on a complimentary car to the airport and there were further apologies from various staff who were all unconnected, but familiar with the story.

I have a habit of calling these events Heroic Rescues. They stay with one for a long time as a good experience, not a bad one.

So if any of you need a recommendation for a great hotel in San Francisco please let me know.

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About the Author: Adam Blackie is a professional Interim Manager who leads service delivery teams through their change programmes. He works with CEO’s and their Boards in the UK to change the way technology is used by staff and their customers.

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About Adam Blackie

A career Freelance Accountant who specialises in leading helping others to hold onto their money.
This entry was posted in being efficient, communication, customer service, Interim Management, leading change, leading change management, reputation management, service delivery and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Truly Excellent Customer Service

  1. Jon Cable says:

    I would agree that this appears to be an example of excellent customer service but I remain unsure as to whether this was either an advisable course of action for the hotel or worthy of a recommendation for a fellow traveller.

    From the hotel’s perspective I read “excellent customer service” as marketing and it should be fully measurable in terms of total cost (cash outlay, time spent etc). The hotel should also be measuring why customers have chosen their hotel, and after stripping out those customers that would have stayed at the hotel anyway, should be able to see which have been significantly influenced by your positive review. The hotel should therefore be able to measure its return on its outlay in providing you with this high level of service. If the return isn’t sufficient then its going “the extra mile”, whilst providing a nice story, particularly if you are the beneficiary, doesn’t justify this as an ongoing business practice. In other words, higher levels of customer service are not always a desirable goal, unless you see an appropriate return.

    From the traveller’s perspective, how noteworthy the hotel’s course of action was, depends on the price you paid for the hotel room. If you were paying $500 per night for a room I would argue that you have paid for this level of service, it is less noteworthy, and that the hotel has probably built this service level into its margins, its customer proposition and its market positioning. If you paid $50 per night for a room, I think this is a noteworthy recommendation and I would like full details of the hotel please, but don’t ask me to become an investor in the hotel!

    • Adam Blackie says:

      Jon,

      Thanks for the comment, and I would agree with you if they had only thrown money at the problem. Most Hotels would do just that. i.e. Offer some cash and hope that you would be happy. They didn’t. They cared, really cared about the problem and also cared for me. They spent a little money, probably the profit margin on the room, but the winning formula was the personal time and effort to communicate with each other to resolve the problem and to keep me informed.

      They were proactive to my needs, not reactive to my complaint.

      PS. The Hotel was the Four Seasons in Market St.

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