This past Thursday, I started my day at 7:00 to set up for a From the Tower meeting in Palm Beach Gardens and ended my day up in Maitland, preparing for the next day’s session.
I checked into my hotel room…feeling every bit of the exhaustion from speaking to a group of agents in South Florida and driving to my next destination three hours away…in the rain. Ahead of me that evening was a dinner meeting with my Tower Hill team, and I had just about an hour to freshen up, grab a cup of coffee in my room, and answer emails from the day.
Two out of the three on my ‘to-do’ list materialized…the third was, well, a disappointment.
As I revved up my computer…I grabbed the in-room coffee maker, read the instructions, and pushed the start button. That is when something strange happened. As I made my way back over to my computer to answer my emails and await that one cup of coffee, I heard the type of sputtering you only hear when there is something terribly wrong.
There it was…the coffee maker made me a half cup of mud…and, a half cup of splatter. The mud made it into the cup and the splatter made it…well, everywhere else.
Needless to say…no coffee for me.
So, with my need for a caffeine fix and a dinner meeting quickly approaching…I made a move. I finished my emails, freshened up and headed downstairs to meet up with my Tower Hill team.
But first…a quick visit to the front desk.
“My coffee maker made coffee…but, it made it in all the wrong places.” And, with a chuckle, the desk clerk made sure I was well taken care of. She sent a cleaning crew to my room, and then I was introduced to a young lady who was working behind the bar in the lounge. The front desk clerk proceeded to tell her of my dilemma and my craving for a nice cup of coffee.
As you can imagine, I was a bit leery about behind-the-bar coffee makers. “Does one actually exist?” I wondered out loud.
And, within seconds, the young lady was off…not back to the bar…but to the opposite side of the restaurant. I waited…and, grabbed a paper to keep me company.
Two minutes later, she returned…not with a coffee…but, with an apology.
“I am sorry for your inconvenience. I am making you a fresh pot of Starbucks coffee and will have it out to you in just a few minutes.” And, that she did. Two minutes later, the coffee arrived.
And, knowing my time frame for dinner, she brought me the following items:
1) Coffee in a to-go cup…the size of my head
2) A to-go ramekin of creamer
3) Several packages of sugar
4) A straw to stir
5) A spoon to stir…just in case I didn’t want to use the straw (PS: the spoon was nicely wrapped in a cocktail napkin)
6) And, extra napkins for any incidental spills
And, to top it off…no bill. Only a smile and a “thank you for staying with us.”
“Thank you for staying with us?”
Wait…there must be a catch…she’s probably coming back to bring me the bill. Maybe she’s distracted with the other patrons. Perhaps she’s asking her manager how much to charge me.
None of the above.
Excellent customer service doesn’t come with a bill. It comes with a “what else can I do for you.”
And, the reply from people like me, in a situation like this, is most always a…“WOW.”
In the book, The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary, it talks about how Starbucks is not in the coffee business. It goes on to state that they are in the people business…serving coffee.
This hotel employee didn’t have to go the extra mile…she didn’t have to brew me a fresh pot of coffee…she could have just said “no”…and, she could have brought me a bill.
She went that extra mile in the hopes that I would have expectations and just appreciate good, quality customer service. You see, customer service comes with a sense of pride…it is a chance-taker by going above and beyond in hopes that someone will notice.
I certainly noticed and I excitedly told my Tower Hill team of my experience. And, now…I am telling you.
The next morning before my presentation, the hotel manager received a nice note from me, telling her how special I felt…and, how this particular employee met and exceeded my expectations.
As you think about your agency’s customer service and client expectations…ask yourself:
How do your clients feel when you go above and beyond?
Do your clients appreciate quality customer service?
When was the last time you told a client, “Thank you for staying with us!”
Be a Five-Star agent…and, always give your clients a reason to say…“WOW!”