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Customer service done RIGHT

September 10, 2008

Earlier this year, I had a most unfortunate experience at the Residence Inn in Austin TX during SXSW.  It was made even worse by the fact that the hotel staff really didn’t think that there was a problem.  There was little if any effort to reach out to me and say, hey, we value you as a guest, we know you had a choice and you chose to stay here, and even though things did not go the way they should, we are here to say that’s not the way we operate. 

Nah, there was nothing like that.

This week, I am in our Indianapolis office for some business reviews.  I’m staying at a Marriott property near our office.  It’s the second time I’ve stayed here, and in general, I have been pleased.  There’s free wi-fi, free breakfast and a decent fitness center.  The facility is new and the beds are comfortable.  I don’t ask for more than that. 

Last night, I came up to my room to find my keys not working.  I went down to the front desk to get new keys, but upon returning to my floor, found the keys were not to be the problem.  There was something wrong with the whole lock system.  The woman at the front desk came up and tried, but she couldn’t get in.  Then, the laundry guy (?!?) came up and his key worked, and I got in.  The woman from the front desk came back up and apologized profusely.  She said my room would be comped, which she did not have to do, as the apology was enough.

Next morning, I was heading down to the fitness center and I wanted to make sure I could get back in the room.  I found, much to my chagrin, that the lock was not working, and my door had been open all night (note, I do use the bolt and all that).  I stopped by the front desk to explain that to the morning manager on duty, and she promised to have it fixed by the time I returned.  Sure enough, it was, and when I entered my room, there was a gift bag filled with goodies and two hand-written notes of apology. 

“They didn’t have to do that,” I thought.   But how nice that they did.  And isn’t it better to leave a customer with the feeling that they went the extra mile to make me feel better, rather than my horrible experience at the Austin Residence Inn?  All they had to do was admit a mistake and say that it wasn’t going to happen again.  I’m not saying my room should have been comped, but maybe some extra Marriott rewards points would have been appreciated.  No matter.  I’m quite pleased with the SpringHill Suites and will certainly plan on returning here on future trips to Indy.  Checking my door, extensively, each visit of course.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2008 11:41 am

    Nice! Very nice. I’ll let my sister know–she goes to Indy a lot for business.

  2. September 12, 2008 3:37 am

    The card key problem is a common one. I find it is aways helpful to keep them away from my credit cards, and any other potential magnetic sources. I generally try to keep them even from coming in contact with my car keys as well. Anything metal can comprimse the security of a card on your way to a room, saving alot of hassle having to re-key.

  3. September 12, 2008 5:58 am

    SNM – definitely recommend that hotel. I was most pleased by their staff.

    GTC – agreed, as I have found my iPod is usually the culprit there. However, that wasn’t it, as we all learned to my chagrin.

  4. September 14, 2008 2:24 am

    Our door lock broke on a recent trip to Portland. As with your experience the staff was super helpful and apologetic, even giving us a gift certificate for room service.

    They need not have gone to the effort… for my three-year-old “helping” the repair man with the door lock was the hi-light of the trip… even better than the 4th of July fireworks the night before.

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