Have you ever had an extended hotel stay that you would describe as flawless, from beginning to end? I have. I stayed at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis for eight days while attending the National Speakers Association's annual convention, and the stay exceeded my expectations in every way — the staff, the food, everything, was perfect.
You might wonder what the hotel staff did that could rate such high praise. Well, let me tell you. As soon as I drove onto the hotel property, the magic began. As I exited the cab, I was greeted by the doormen, and in the lobby, I was greeted again and that same person led me to the counter and processed my check-in. She did not then wave me along, but actually walked me to the correct elevators and proceeded to inform me of the hotel's layout and amenities. I learned that there were two sets of elevators and which ones I should use to get to my room, that there was a Starbucks located on the second floor and a workout facility for guests. I was already impressed.
Every hotel employee I passed throughout my stay greeted me with "Good morning" or "Good afternoon."
Are you starting to see a pattern? The employees were not just nice, they were engaging. They made it a point to actively interact with the guests. Amazing service can begin with a simple greeting if it is part of a proactive pattern of interaction.
There was one particular incident of "WOW" customer service. Truly over the top. My wife had accompanied me to the convention and was running late to a morning session. She had hoped to buy a cup of coffee, but when she saw how long the line was she decided that she would not make it to the session in time if she waited to make the purchase. She decided to forego the coffee and instead went ahead to the meeting. A hotel employee noticed her dilemma as she rushed to the meeting. Shortly after the meeting had started, he located my wife in the crowd and gave her a cup of coffee. Talk about amazing customer service. He assessed the situation and decided what he could do to solve the problem. His solution allowed my wife to attend the meeting on time and still have a cup of coffee. One more amazing aspect to this story is that he literally had to locate her in an audience of more than 1,000 people to bring her the coffee.
I said to the person sitting next to me, "This is the kind of thing that just happens to me. And, many people think I make up these stories."
That one truly "WOW" customer service experience in addition to the great service I received throughout my stay is representative of the way JW Marriott does business. I was able to speak to the manager, Scott Blalock, and I thanked him for the outstanding service and asked what his secret was. As he stood at the checkout area wishing guests a safe trip home, he told me about "real time relevance."
He explained the term as employees engaging guests in real time, at every possible interaction. He said that every interaction is relevant. They may appear to be small things when considered individually, but the combination of all of the interactions adds up to an overall amazing customer experience.
A lesson to remember — every interaction is relevant, even the small ones. Make them count.