Friday, May 02, 2008

The Face of Customer Service

SMBTN was a great conference. But let me just take a minute to introduce you to the hotel: the Omni Mandalay in Irving, TX.

I travel a lot. I have no idea how many hotels I've stayed in. I don't know if I'm "seasoned" or just jaded. After awhile a hotel -- even a great hotel -- is just another hotel.

CameronMy experience with the Omni started with the pre-day event Matt Makowicz and I put on. Cameron was extremely helpful to us, and helped keep the costs in line. He also managed to do a fantastic room setup for our very oddly-shaped seminar room (it used to be a bar). Even when our event was over, Cameron checked with us for the four days of the SMBTN event. We literally felt like we were getting extra service beyond what we were paying for.

Oops. Let me back up.

When I arrived at the hotel, I wanted to pick up my boxes full of books, registration name tags, and other materials for our preday event. No boxes.

JohnTurns out UPS delivered my boxes to the Marriott! I dropped by the concierge desk to see if John could help me figure out how to get my boxes. Should I take a taxi? Do you have a shuttle?

John just said "We'll handle it. Do you want them delivered to your room?" Uh . . . yes. That would be great. Matt and I went to dinner. Poof. Boxes in my room.

We had a great seminar. One staff member after another took care of every little detail. Nothing was a hassle. Nothing was out of line or unreasonable.

Thursday: Our event was over. Folks were arriving for the big SMBTN event. A handful of us wanted to play cards. So we got some ice and drinks and founds our way back to the conference room (the Rhapsody). It still had tables from our event. So we put some chairs around a banquet table and started our poker game.

CraigEnter Craig. He's on the banquet staff, as I understand.

Craig says we're welcome to stay but we can't mix drinks down there. But we got the idea that we could mix them in our room and bring them down. Fair enough. He said we could stay, but his folks needed to take down the rest of the room. Fair enough again.

The next day, Craig comes up and says "That room's empty tonight. But I had the staff set up a round table with chairs. And I asked the bar staff to drop down there ocassionally and serve you."


Now THAT'S service!

Not only did we not ask for this, we didn't even think you COULD ask for something like that.

Does it stop? No.

Matt and I were manning the book sales table about as far from the lunch room as you could get. So we thought we'd take turns running to go through the buffet line. Matt goes first.

He comes back empty handed. I ask if he ate real fast. He says no, they offered to put together a plate for us and bring us lunch. What?

It was like a twilight zone episode. Is this a for-profit hotel in North America?

LauraDoes it stop? No. Every single day of the event, someone came by to see how many people needed lunches. Laura brought us lunch on the last day.

And it goes on. The staff helped us with little things and big things for five days. Right up until I gave John a bunch of boxes to ship as I was walking out the door, we were taken care of.

Every once in awhile you read about these experiences.

Can you write a training manual to list all the great things your staff can do "above and beyond the call of duty" to make a great experience? No, of course not. So how do you create a culture in which every member of the staff has a good attitude, a quick smile, and a real sense about customer service?

I'm not sure what the Omni does. But they do a great job of it!

If you're an author looking for a chapter on creating a culture of customer service, you'd do well to contact the Omni Mandalay and interview the people there.

And if you're looking for a nice place to stay, with a wonderful staff, the Omni's your place.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karl, this hotel was a gem, I hope that many of the SBSC's and Small Business IT Pros that were at the hotel that weekend learned what it takes to provide awesome client experiences and what that means to your clients.

    Service is an art that is rapidly disappearing in today's world.

    The Omni Mandalay is an exception to this new rule. Congrats to the staff there and WOW, what an experience.


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