Saturday, September 15, 2007

World class customer service

Mostly I write about bad service because thats what lights me up. For a change, here is a story about customer service done the right way.

My wife an I were gong to Las Vegas for a couple of days and made the reservations on the internet. When my wife made the reservations, she thought she was at the Paris Paris web site. As it turns out, she was at a web site called and when we got to the hotel, the reservations had been canceled!

This is where the good part starts; because the reservations were make through a third party we had to call to get it straitened out. The first desk clerk gave us a phone number to call that turned out to be an out of service number. Roberto, the second of three desk clerks who helped us, got on his desk phone, talked to with us, and found that we had been double booked. That is 4 rooms rather than two. We needed an extra room because this was a birthday trip for our niece. Roberto made sure that faxed the correction to the hotel and that the folks updating the reservation computer were waiting for the information and updated the computer right away.

We had to go and play in the casino (what a hardship) while the hotel sorted it out. When we came back the desk, Shirlene (a third desk clerk) was waiting for us and knew all the particulars of our problem, Roberto had briefed her well. She went through the check in process as quickly as possible and joked with us, making a potentially frustrating experience more like visiting with a friend.

Things happen and sometimes it doesn’t work out the way we would like. When that happens the true test of your staff is how painless they make that occasional problem for your customer. In this case we saw the very best of Paris Paris’ staffs customer service skills.

Thanks to to Roberto and Shirlene for making an irritating situation as painless as possible and helping us start our vacation with a laugh!

If getting your customers to come back again and again is important to your business you are going to have to invest in your people so they know how to fix things quickly AND how to make your customers feel that they care. That takes a real commitment from management to seek out and reward the employees who do it right. Remember that in customer service rewarding those who succeed is more effective than punishing those who didn’t do it right.

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