Amazing Customer Service Story 1
Once upon a time, a major manufacturing company hired me to establish a distribution, training and service network throughout Europe. This was heady stuff for a 26-year-old, and I was having the challenge (and time) of my life. My seven-nation tour ended in the United Kingdom, and I wound up staying at a small suburban hotel near Swindon. Prior to that trip I had no experience with foreign hotels, and so it never occurred to me that the rules were different. I arrived at this little hotel at about 11PM local time. I had just flown in from Stockholm and I was starving, so I called the desk to order late room service. The clerk hesitated a moment and asked if I could "do with sandwiches and milk." I was a little unhappy that the hotel didn't offer the kind of robust room service menu I'd become accustomed to, but I agreed to sandwiches.
I became very irritated when the wait for my sandwiches stretched out to 45 minutes and longer. When the knock finally came to my door, I opened it to find the clerk huffing and puffing. His little uniform was drenched in sweat, and with shaky hands he held out my plate of sandwiches, a cookie and a glass of milk.
Please pay attention to this part--the hotel did not have room service and so he had ridden his bicycle to his own home, made the sandwiches and cookie from his own kitchen, and poured a glass of milk from his own milk bottle. He had then ever-so-carefully ridden my meal back to the hotel. He felt sorry for me since I was young and hungry and far from home. I remain in awe of this good man and try to emulate him often. He humbled me and showed me the path to a better form of customer service--customer service from the heart.
Amazing Customer Service Story 2
A decade later I was traveling through Iowa in support of a high-tech customer in a tiny low-tech town. I wound up staying at one of those little motor hotels on the edge of town, you know the kind- a flickering neon sign and a serial killer in every shower. At least that is how Hollywood portrays them. When I checked in an elderly woman came to the desk wearing an old robe, her hair up in those little pink plastic curlers, and pink fuzzy slippers. She had cat's eye glasses on and a cigarette hanging from the corner of her mouth. She looked for all the world like a character out of "The Far Side" cartoons. Without thinking I asked her if there was newspaper delivery and coffee in the room in the morning, and she just stared at me blankly, as I signed the registration papers and took my key.
I requested a wake up call as I turned in for the night. Imagine my surprise the next morning when she showed up, dressed the same as before, and handed me a newspaper, a carafe of coffee that presumably came from her own coffee maker, and one of those grocery store sweet roll packages with flat frosted rolls in a tinfoil tray surrounded by plastic wrap. Needless to say I don't think that was standard operating procedure for her. I was in awe of her. That was the fondest wake up call of my entire life. She met my needs, regardless of the inconvenience to herself.
Amazing Customer Service Story 3
I now have another anecdote to share with you. If you've been reading you know that I'm staying at the Hilton Torrey Pines in La Jolla-- a famous hotel with a great reputation. Last night my youngest son became violently sick. The result was a seriously dirty room, beds that needed to be remade, and towels used in containing the mess.
In the morning the General Manager visited me personally to express his concern for the welfare of my son. The Director of House Keeping personally explained that her staff had cleaned the room and used an ozone machine to remove any remaining odors. She had also arranged to have broth, crackers, water and sprite delivered to my son while I was speaking at the conference. This was world class service. To say that this is a great hotel is one thing, but more importantly it is staffed by great people who have treated my son and me like family. I highly recommend this hotel.
The Heart of a Servant/Warrior
By the way, I'd be remiss if I didn't add one more benchmark of service. When I was in high school, our washing machine stopped working and Mom, being a single parent, was spread too thin to fix it. A friend of the family, Erik Allen (Big Erik) stopped by one night to fix the cord on our washing machine so that it would work again. Here is the stunning piece of information to consider. He was in the final stages of terminal cancer and he was on his way to the hospital to die. As his life ebbed rapidly from him he had the person driving the car take a detour on the way to the hospital so that he could commit one last act of kindness. He had become a follower of Jesus Christ a short time before, and say what you will about Christians, he was seriously dedicated to living (and dying) like Jesus Christ. I have no words to express how much this particular anecdote means to me. It was my 'Saving Private Ryan' moment.
©Copyright Mark Ragar Schneider, 2009 All Rights Reserved