Because of my job I spend a lot of time in hotels. And, because, as I wrote in an earlier blog, details matter, I pay close attention to the details of my stays. It’s important to me that I view my experience just like any other guest, learn about hotel operations from my colleagues in the field, and contribute where I can to improve the experience.
This past week, one of those details – a simple interaction – made such a difference to me personally that I think it sheds light on what we mean when we talk about customer service and why it’s so important.
Here’s what happened:
My leadership team and I were visiting our Starwood colleagues at Starlab Design Center in New York. For this particular trip, I stayed at our new Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, because it’s a new hotel and close to Starlab.
Like a lot of hotels in New York, the Renaissance New York Midtown has several elevator banks that transport guests between the ground floor, restaurant, lobby and rooms. During peak times, the elevators are in high demand and can be slower than normal. After a long day at the Starlab offices, my colleagues and I headed back to the hotel to refresh for dinner. As we were headed to our rooms, we experienced longer than normal wait times at the elevators. I was tired and just wanted to get to the room and change quickly, as we were already running behind schedule for our dinner.
When the elevator arrived to pick us up, I admit it, I was a little annoyed at the wait.
But, then something unexpected happened. When the door opened, we were greeted by a hotel associate with a big smile and warm greeting. She quickly apologized for the delay. She explained the various factors that affected the wait and how they were working hard to improve the experience.
She then stayed with our group the entire ride, engaged in friendly conversation and offered us drink vouchers for the lobby bar because of the delay.
We gratefully accepted. As soon as we freshened up, we put the vouchers to good use.
Guess who we saw at the bar? That same associate met us there, checking to make sure we didn’t have any problems. She gave her business cards to each of us so we could contact her directly if we needed anything else during our stay.
That was great customer service. But I should expect that from a colleague, right?
Here’s the best part of the story: She had no idea we worked at Marriott.
It wasn’t until we asked to take a group picture with her, in front of the sign in the lobby that reads “Attitude is Everything,” that we clued her in.
She treated us how she treats all guests. Her warm smile, positive attitude and attention to customer satisfaction made us all feel welcomed and taken care of. We quickly forgot about the slow elevators and really enjoyed talking with her.
Her approach reminded me that attitude is everything.
One of the most important things you can do in pursing your goals is to monitor your attitude. It impacts your mood, your work performance, relationships and everyone around you.
In every situation we face, we have a choice of how to react. We can respond in a negative or positive manner. We all have that power and in those stressful moments, the key is to realize it’s all about how you respond.
It also reminded me that people don’t necessarily remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. And a positive attitude goes along way in the hospitality business.
Our founder, J. Willard Marriott once said: “If you take care of your associates, they’ll take care of your guests, and your business will take care of itself,” and it’s great to see his vision and spirit is stronger than ever today.
Thank you, Amy Verrengia, Front Desk Manager, at Renaissance New York Midtown for making us feel taken care of. We’ll never forget that and we’ll be back soon!