Unexpected Customer Service

I want to share a story about unexpected customer service. We stayed in a hotel over the weekend for a couple of nights for an event that was out-of-state. We booked the room well in advance. When we arrived we were not surprised to see the front desk turning people away because they were booked — in fact they were over-booked. After driving 5½ hours we were just glad to get our room.

The room was more than we expected. There was a refrigerator, microwave, kitchen sink, coffee maker, cupboard with dishware, cups and glasses, a dish washer, and even a garbage disposal in the sink. (Okay so I may not get out much and stay in hotels that often, but I was impressed.)

The hotel was equipped with an indoor swimming pool, an exercise room, a laundry room, an outside sitting area with a fire pit and grills. It had all of the comforts of home, and then some.

The first morning we discovered that the shower gel dispenser was empty. We shared this info with the front desk when we went down to the lobby to enjoy our free continental breakfast. I remember continental breakfast being a muffin and a cup of coffee and if you were lucky maybe a honey bun. This spread consisted of coffee, tea, three different juices, milk, yogurt, fresh fruit, bagels, muffins, sausage biscuits, waffle skillet, western egg wraps, oatmeal, ham and egg English muffins, some kind of egg casserole, if you couldn’t find something you liked, you weren’t looking hard enough.

We went to our event and when we returned, not only had they refilled the shower gel dispenser, but they cleaned the room, emptied the trash, added fresh towels, replenished the coffee and tea for the in room coffee maker, which for a two night stay this is not included unless it is requested. Impressive. Every employee we came in contact with asked us how we were doing and if there was anything we needed for our room. They were very accommodating. The hotel even allowed pets.

Finally the time came for us to check out. We went to the front desk to change the credit card we had reserved the room with and to check out. The front desk supervisor asked if we had a rewards card which we did not. She offered to sign us up so that we could earn points off our next stay. In the hustle and bustle of people coming and going, something happened and an error was made. When she gave us the rewards card it had someone else’s name on it. Somehow our credit card paid for another customer’s room. It was an honest mistake. The front desk supervisor was not flustered or embarrassed at all. She said she would make sure the charges were removed from the credit card.

It was Sunday morning. Credit card companies are not quick with customer service calls on Sunday mornings. It was about forty-five minutes later when the supervisor assured us the charges for the other customer’s room were removed. Then she surprised us with the most unexpected customer service gesture. For the inconvenience, our stay for both nights were free of charge. On behalf of the front desk supervisor, for her honest mistake, she gave us both nights without charge. Talk about “owning it”. She took full responsibility for the mistake. She did not have to call a supervisor for approval. She owned it and she fixed it.

Unexpected customer service makes the experience outstanding. It’s what makes that company above all of the others. Tell me about your unexpected customer service. What made it outstanding?

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

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