Observations From My Travels

Consistent Service Pays Off

I have a huge amount of travel for the first 150 days of this year, which will take me to many cities all aver the U.S.  Since customer service is such a huge part of a small businesses ability to build relationships, I have a sixth sense that has been developed over the years for noticing how businesses interact with customers.

Being on the road gives me lots of opportunity for observing and here’s a few things I’ve noticed:

Even though I stay at the same hotel chain every night, there is a vast difference in the level of services from place to place. A customer like me wants to be able to count on certain things when they stay somewhere- that’s a big part of picking one place. But this national chain I use varies in their policy on free internet. 75% of the time it’s free but sometimes it’s $12 a day! That’s the last thing a business person wants to pay for- especially when they are used to getting it free most the time. Customers hate to be asked to pay for little extras they don’t consider extras – just up the stay fee and include the internet (good lesson for running any business).

Paying the extra $10 to board as one of the first 60 travelers on Southwest flights is the best deal out there. You always can find room for your carry-on. Southwest also seems much more personable and helpful than the other airlines I sometimes use. Here’s a time when paying a little extra works- those that do get something of real value over those that do not pay for it.

While having breakfast at the hotel in San Francisco, I saw a hotel customer demand a meeting with the hotel manager while she ate the free breakfast. She loudly berated almost every aspect of his staff and demanded all kinds of reimbursement. She took almost 30 minutes of his time, while she ate she twice interrupted her own tirade to take phone calls from friends. What was so impressive was the hotel manager’s ability to handle something so over the top. He calmly sat and made notes of all her complaints, never interrupted and looked her in the eye when he responded. She went from a raving nut to a laughing, complimentary mindset in 30 minutes. His ability to let her vent, confirm her feelings and reply without emotion all while being observed by 25 other hotel guests was a true lesson in professionalism.

OK- off to catch another flight…

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