I celebrated my 49th birthday this week! Whoo Hoo!!!
Birthdays are a great time to reflect on past accomplishments and to set future goals. Are you happy with what you accomplished? What prevented you from achieving your goals?
As you begin to ponder the answers to these questions, I want you to really be honest with yourself.
Did you make yourself or everybody else the priority? Often times, we are so busy assisting, worrying and thinking about others, that we fail to leave time for ourselves.
Happy New Year! I’ve got my Meeting Planner hat on this morning. I’m coordinating the Intercessory Prayer Conference this week in Atlanta at the Westin Perimeter hotel. We have the entire hotel starting Wednesday through Saturday. We have gone over our room block twice and we have every ounce of space in the hotel.
Though the conference starts on Wednesday, my team checked in last night, Monday. We had some “opportunities” (code word for challenges) when we checked in, so I thought I would share a quick customer service lesson.
Out of 6 reservations that checked in last night, 5 were set up incorrectly including mine.
My reservation was actually cancelled. Now, this is funny! I’m the Meeting Planner and no one caught that my reservation was cancelled. I always negotiate a complimentary working suite (that is not a part of our 1:35 comp policy by the way!) in ALL of my contracts so that I have plenty of room for my team and I to meet, rest, change clothes and eat on the go!
So, you may ask, what happened? Well, it appears that someone in the reservations department cancelled my room 3 days ago. Of course, I got my last printout of the rooming list 4 days ago and I was on it. Things happen, so no big deal.
The front desk clerk proceeded to tell me that he could check me in to a room, but they didn’t have a suite to check me in to tonight nor the entire length of my stay. Really? Hmm….
I was fine checking in to a regular room for the night because I knew I would get this “opportunity” resolved in the morning. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just not that big of a deal.
After 30 minutes, which was grueling to me because I had had a SUPER long day, of him telling me he didn’t have my reservation and he didn’t have a suite available, he focused and MIRACULOUSLY found a suite for me. Though I told him who I was, he refused to “comp” it and required me to give him my credit card, so I did. Again, I knew I would get it resolved in the morning.
What made me uncomfortable was how he kept telling me he was trying to do me a favor and work “something” out.
Unfortunately, at no point did he show concern for the lack of customer service I was experiencing because of these errors.
Sure, it wasn’t his fault my room was cancelled or that 5 of our 6 reservations were wrong, but it was his in power to CONTROL THE OUTCOME of my experience.
The lesson is, he should have been saying, “I’m sorry. This is not our standard of excellence and we strive to handle every guest correctly. Please have a seat or let me get you something to drink since you’ve been standing here for 30 minutes. Or, please enjoy breakfast on us in the morning.”
There are a few lessons in this story from a Meeting Planners point of view:
1. Stay calm.
2. Be flexible. You can always resolve any issue.
3. Remind your team to stay calm. When the “opportunity” may be their fault, they will appreciate people being calm and flexible with them.
4. If it’s not written, it’s not wrong. Always get EVERYTHING in writing, that’s the only way you can prove what’s right.
5. Check-in EARLY. Always check in before your guests arrive.
6. Host a Pre-Con. The Pre-Conference meeting allows you to meet every manager in the hotel. ALWAYS INSIST on this. This gives you a chance to put a face with a name and know who to turn to when you need assistance in various departments.
Hope this teachable moment helped you!
Let’s WIN Together!
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