Monday, March 12, 2012

Customer Service Continued - The Mouse Wins

I am just back from a family vacation in Hawaii. And it really is a family vacation when we go to Hawaii. Not only is it a great venue for a vacation with always spectacular weather, but since we also have family living there, we also get a chance for some valuable family time. This time we split our visit to Hawaii between two vacation clubs. Both were beautiful facilities, both were comfortable and both had excellent amenities. We will go back to both in the years ahead but one stands out, and the difference is clearly customer service. In the first vacation club we stayed in, my kids who were sharing a bedroom, found a cigarette lighter in the queen size bed. That’s correct—they found a cigarette lighter in the freshly made bed. They didn’t even know what it was when they brought it out of their bedroom and showed it to my spouse. An easy recipe for kids to get hurt and a serious oversight on the part of the hotel. I called housekeeping to report the cigarette lighter. The only response was the person who answered indicated he would report this finding. And that was it. No follow-up call, no one came to see the lighter or to explain how something like this could happen. Very indifferent customer service for something that was clearly the hotel’s fault. In the next vacation club, there actually was a mix-up with the reservation which was almost seamlessly resolved. But straightening out a mix-up that shouldn’t have happened in the first place doesn’t warrant customer service recognition. Instead, it was the reaction from the staff when a drinking glass broke on the ground adjacent to the water facilities. Four staff members immediately appeared and started removing the broken glass. They worked on removing all traces of the broken glass for what was at least ten minutes. They even shined a spot light on the area even though they were already in bright Hawaiian sunshine on a crystal clear day. After all their efforts and after the detailed attention placed on removing every trace of glass, I would gladly have walked the area barefoot. I had confidence that everything that could and should be done, had been done. What also differentiated this vacation club was the friendliness of the staff (which was known as the “cast”). Almost to a person, and the staff was more than abundant, everyone said hello, everyone was professional, and in addition everyone was friendly. The staff training was visible and it was clearly an asset. The mouse makes a difference. Two great places to stay at. Two great locations and physical settings. Two great ambassadors for vacationing in Hawaii. And yet during this trip, there is no doubt that one stood out. And as a result, I have a new first choice of where to stay in Hawaii and the reason is directly attributable to customer service. Our students, our future alums, also care about service, and it matters greatly to the students and to their families. I’m never a fan of compromising standards but I’m also not a fan of compromising on service. It matters both in the short and long run, and it should.

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