So once again I find myself checking into a hotel, which I do nearly every week, sometimes several times a week. The desk clerk is courteous as he asks my name. He notes that I am an elite member of their rewards program, and that they appreciate my business. He then asks if I have stayed at their hotel before, and I instantly realize he cares nothing about me. I have stayed at this same hotel for several years, averaging 15-20 nights per year, and someone is actually asking me if I have stayed at their hotel before.
I suddenly know, beyond any doubt, that this hotel, even though they say and do many of the right things, isn’t working to make customer service a priority. How can they, when they don’t even care enough to find out who I am as a customer.
Contrast this with a hotel I stayed at over 6 months ago. I was a guest at this hotel for over a week and had not been back for over 6 months. When I introduced myself at the front desk the clerk immediately said, “thank your for staying with us again, Mr. Murray, let me tell you about some of our recent changes to improve your stay”. I felt welcome, I had been remembered. And even if that remembrance is part of an internal policy, a computer program, or a daily memo, this hotel had let me know that I was important to them.
Most hotels, restaurants and other service providers have good service. Those that don’t at least attempt to do the right things quickly go out of business. How many take the extra effort to truly stand out from their peers to create experiences that we remember. The shame is that it takes only a little effort to stand out from the crowd in a big way.
We live in a world where small things can make big differences. Remembering that I am not only an elite member of your rewards program is good, but remembering me from my last stay is a big difference. Addressing me by name is a small thing, but remembering that I like Diet Coke instead of water in my room is a big difference. Helping me to extend my stay when the Hotel is booked is a small thing, but having the manager come to the hotel café to tell me he has made the arrangements for me is a big difference.
As leaders, we set the tone for those around us. Are we working every day to do the small things? Or are we going the next step and making a big difference? Our passion and enthusiasm can infuse our employees to make a big difference, or settle for something less. What is the message we convey? I find that leaders who make a big difference have employees who will follow their example. Which path will you choose?