A Simple Way To Win Your Customers’ Loyalty

The Roger Smith Hotel, New YorkI’m going to tell you a story about my weekend. Bear with me – it goes somewhere…

A tale of service

This weekend Caralin and I flew down to New York to see our favourite comedian Eddie Izzard at the Madison Square Gardens. I’d heard great things about the Roger Smith Hotel from people like Chris Brogan, Keith Burtis and Julien Smith, and after spotting their Bacon Package online, it was a natural choice for our place to stay.

When we arrived, we immediately noticed that the bacon truffles promised in the package we’d purchased (no, really!) weren’t in our room. No biggie, but as we’d looked forward to trying them I called down to the desk and mentioned it (I threw out a tweet too). The person manning the desk said they’d check into it, but that perhaps they were meant to arrive the next day. A few minutes later, we received a call from the front desk manager, who apologised and said he’d like to send us a bottle of wine for the mix-up – would we like champagne, red or white wine? I also got a response to my tweet (and subsequent “wow” tweet) from @RSHotel – their own Twitter account. Needless to say, we were very impressed, and my non-social media friend accompanying us was floored.

Fast forward a few hours (and a bottle of wine), and as we tried to sleep we discovered that our room’s heater apparently had a whole family of badgers in it – that, or the steam made it incredibly loud every few minutes or so. As a result, we slept very poorly and were exhausted in the morning.

After staggering downstairs bleary-eyed we mentioned it (sheepishly – I don’t like complaining) to the front desk staff the next morning. Without skipping a beat, the lady at the desk apologized and immediately offered us an upgrade to our room, to perhaps the nicest suite I’ve ever stayed in.

The point of the story

This isn’t a story about our weekend in New York; it’s a story about customer service winning-out over problems which could have become a focal point of our stay in New York.

Yes, the problems could have been avoided. The room might not have been possessed, and the truffles (which I now crave, as we never did receive them) could have been there as promised. Still, these things happen sometimes. However, the response of the staff at the Roger Smith Hotel to these problems was fabulous. From start to finish, they completely won me over with their friendliness and helpfulness, choosing long-term reputation and loyalty over short-term savings. No amount of marketing budget could build the impression I have of them now. Lots of companies could benefit from this approach.

As a result, despite the problems (in fact, perhaps it’s because of them) I’ll be staying at the Roger Smith Hotel whenever I travel to Manhattan.

The moral of the story: It’s not just the problems that matter; it’s how you respond to them.

What other companies have you had this kind of experience with?

(Image credit: Retro Housewife)

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.