Are You Creating Customers Who Brag About You?
by Shawna Kersenbrock
Recently I was asked to travel for a customer visit and it just so happened to be the week of the “snowstorm of the century”. I waited out the worst of it, then made a break for it when I heard most major roads were cleared (funny what was called “clear”). I journeyed through snow, slush and ice to my destination. I kept a deliberate eye on the road and an iron grip on the wheel for what ended up being an eight-hour trip. Stopping for anything was impossible since the off-ramps looked more like ski slopes.
I can’t imagine what I looked liked when I collapsed on the chair in the lobby of the Hampton Inn in Clovis, New Mexico. Exhausted, mentally drained and starving, I sat there in exasperated silence. A hotel employee appeared from the front desk and asked if I needed any assistance. Relief! The last thing I wanted to do was think, or do anything except mold into the comfortable lounge chair I had found. She went on to say, “Are you checking in? If so, you don’t even need to move. If you could just hand me your driver’s license, I will get you all set up.” Moments later she had not only checked me in, but also had another hotel employee grab the bags from my car and take them to my room while I sat and drank hot tea and ate a fresh chocolate chip cookie. My entire demeanor changed. The eight hours of horror were erased from my mind with this simple, delightful act of customer service.
Even more amazing is that the entire stay was like this. Every touch point built more trust and loyalty. The front desk clerk was extremely friendly, the breakfast staff remembered my favorites from day to day, and when I tried to purchase a bottle of water to take to the fitness center I was instead offered a complimentary bottle. Small surprises happened continuously.
There are places where you expect amazing service. Last year I stayed at a Ritz Carlton, and their service is legendary. But they had nothing on this Hampton Inn. Customer service at this hotel is just what they do. I had not seen the receptionist who greeted me since check-in, but when I checked out two days later she remembered my name and room number without being prompted. As I walked to the front doors for the last time she called out, “Now you have a safe return home, Ms. Shawna.” My response: “I can’t wait to return!” And I meant it.
The point? You can create loyal customers who love you without adding cost.
When you review my experience, it is clear. The cost breakdown is as follows:
Complete check-in and bags to room
Since this experience, I have enrolled in Hampton Inn’s honors program, stayed at their other hotels and received the same great customer experience. There are many hotels I could select the next time I stay in the Clovis area, but only one will get my business.
What can you do to create customers who not only love you but brag about you?