In almost every business, the common objective is to make money. Many business owners and new entrepreneurs are tempted to focus on that. But the best indication of a successful business in the long run comes from building great relationships with customers so they keep coming back for more. Loyalty is the name of the game!
I was recently on a task force in one of our hotels in St. Louis. I had a wonderful opportunity to connect and engage with new customers as well as mentoring new employees about service excellence.
In the process of helping the team one evening, I met Geri who came to visit her mother who was celebrating a 90th birthday. Geri was staying for almost a week at our hotel and arrived in a midst of a very busy hopping place with guests coming in and out of the hotel.
Geri was requested her room to be away from any noise and just settle in a nice quiet room for a five day stay at the hotel. With the hotel located near a major highway, full capacity and a large sales convention in the hotel, that seemed almost impossible. But this is where magic happens right? So, we checked out couple of room walking with Geri around the hotel to ensure the customer gets what they asked for.
After looking into several floors and personally checking the rooms, we found one that suited her needs. She was very thankful but I can tell that there was something else that I felt Geri was at unease about, but did not know until later on as we got to know each other on a personal level.
As I thought about the inconveniences of our guest and something I detected, I wanted to do something beyond just a quiet room to her preferences. After all, she came by the front desk to thank me for all my efforts to get her into a quiet room, but I knew there something else I can do to create a memorable experience that would hit a home run!
Later that evening, I took the liberty to wow the customer. I sent up a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries with a personal note to thank Geri and her husband. I wanted them to feel appreciated and valued as a guest at our hotel. Little did I know they came here for a special occasion.
Geri came down to talk about how thoughtful it was to send a nice amenity and a personal note. She said “You just have no idea how it made our day. We have been very stressed out and worried as we recently received news regarding my son having cancer and we trying to take care of my mom who will be celebrating her 90th birthday.”
I can see why she was overwhelmed and wanted to have a hassle free stay. We spoke more and I empathized with her to let her know we would like to make it easier for her to create magical memories for her mother’s birthday.
I invited her family to come to the hotel restaurant and we will do something very special.When she brought her mom back to the hotel we created a nice Happy Birthday card from all the stuff and offered a very nice lunch of their choice to really go above and beyond.
Geri and I spoke again before she left the hotel. She was wowed and appreciated all the kind gestures that created a memorable stay. She took the time to write a comment card to the hotel General Manager and the customer service department to let them know how we created positive experience for her family.
We talked for a while and connected on a personal level. We found out that we both love teaching and connecting with people. We created a new relationship, but beyond that a customer for a life time.
Customer service is about creating the trust that you will deliver on your brand promises and deliver beyond the expectations. It takes time to build trust, though it can be destroyed in five minutes.
Encourage your team to get to know the customer. A personal touch does not need to be costly, but it can make your customers feel appreciated and valued. Like with a gift, it is the thought that counts. Maybe you have a loyal customer who you do not know well, but you want to say thanks for their continued business.