1. Thoughts from the Zeitgeist

Make it Personal Is Not Just a Slogan

Unforgettable experiences make the difference.

{A Note to Readers: This is another in a series of guest blogs focused on Customer Experience from the amazing Katy Wild. Working with Katy, I can always expect to learn something; I trust you will, too. ~ bph}

I recently attended an event in Atlanta and stayed at one of Marriott’s boutique properties for the first time — the Glenn Hotel.  The main reason I chose it wasn’t due to a recommendation or price, but simply the close proximity to the event facility.  How was I to know this chance encounter was going to provide one of my best experiences in a hotel as it relates to “make it personal” service?

The experience wasn’t based on an elegant lobby, beautiful view from my room, or the lush, elaborate accommodations.  These were perfectly fine — but on their own would not have been enough to really bring me back.

It was the personal, seemingly natural touch the employees gave every act that definitely earned a second visit.  Every individual I came in contact with made even the simplest request seem like their supreme pleasure to fulfill.   There were actually several occurrences that really caught my attention, but two were especially memorable.

I did not see a taxi stand so I inquired at the front desk if there was a taxi available.  The desk agent personally walked me out (instead of pointing or showing me a map) and actually introduced me to the gentleman at the valet stand.   He responded that there was a taxi waiting and walked me to the vehicle only to find out the driver was missing.  He apologized profusely (even though it wasn’t his fault), took a minute or so to search for the driver with no success, so he then sprinted to the street to flag down another taxi.  And did I mention that it was also pouring down rain?  Just as I was getting in the taxi he had directed to the pickup area, the first taxi driver appeared and was extremely agitated that his fare was given away.  My valet apologized to the driver (even though it was not his fault) and said he would make sure he would have the next guest, then turned and with a smile, apologized to me for the situation, and placed me in the taxi.   A great save for both the customer and his vendor.

The second occurrence really took me by surprise!  When I returned to the hotel, I was looking for the ice machine on my floor and saw that it was being blocked by the car of an electrician who was working on a heating unit in the closet next to the machine.  He immediately stood up, apologized for the inconvenience, took my ice bucket, and began to get the ice for me.

Unfortunately, the ice machine was not working!  Without a second of hesitation, and with a smile, he said he would run down two floors, obtain the ice and bring it to my room.  He opened the near stairwell door and took off down two flights of stairs before I could even respond.  Keep in my mind, this was not a food service attendant – he was the electrician!   He delivered the ice as promised in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes, and with a smile, apologized again for the inoperable ice machine.

In just a few seconds’ interaction, customers can tell whether a service provider has that “make it personal” attitude and are ready to back it up with action. These seemingly small interactions made my stay memorable enough to share with others.  What unforgettable personal experiences are you providing for your customers?