I recently stayed at the Marriott Eaton Center hotel in downtown Toronto for a client business meeting. When I made the reservation, the reservationist promised concierge level service and a room with a king-sized bed. Furthermore, she thanked me for being a Silver Member of the Marriott Rewards Club. When I checked into the hotel after a long flight, the attendent informed me that no rooms with king beds only were available and I’d have to settle for one with two double beds. This is usually no big deal for me except for the fact that this room cost $350/night and I was looking forward to a $350/night experience (whatever that means). I asked if there was anything they could do to accommodate what I was expecting and they apologetically responded “no.” Long story short, I then asked for a discount on the room which triggered the attendent to summon a manager and, guess what? The room I requested was then “all of a sudden” available (with king sized bed, mints on the pillow, etc.).
The sudden availability of the room I requested and was promised could have been mere coincidence or perhaps it was Marriott’s way of holding much-desired rooms for special guests and/or circumstances. Whatever the reasoning, if Marriott proactively kept my reservation and what was promised, I would not have started out on the wrong foot with this customer experience.
The lesson in all of this — Be proactive with satisfying your customers — always! Do what you say and say what you do. Under-promise and over-deliver. Try to get it right the first time. And, if you know in advance that you will not be able to, go the extra mile by letting your customer know before they are disappointed and compensate their inconvenience with added value. Pretty simple, right?