Here’s what I call kick-ass customer service.

Generally speaking, I’m pretty laid-back when it comes to interacting with the hard-working men and women of our service industry. Customer service reps, restaurant servers, repair technicians, whatever…I try not to be the dick so many other people seem to relish in being when it comes to lording over these folks. Most of the time, they’re working their asses off to make my life easier in one fashion or another, and they deserve to be treated with–at the very least–the basic courtesy and civility due any other bipedal humanoid creature wandering this planet. It takes an extraordinary set of circumstances for me to become “that guy,” and even when it’s warranted, more often than not I feel bad for having to take things that far.

On the other hand, whenever someone goes out of their way to do something extra for me? I take great delight in singing their praises to all who will listen. As for those who won’t listen? Well, fuck them; they need some shit like this to brighten their otherwise crummy day, the bitter assbags.

So, here’s the story: Every year, the Mrs. and I try to do an overnight getaway to celebrate our anniversary. This past anniversary, we stayed at a pretty swank hotel here in KC. I booked its most expensive, elegantly appointed suite with all the bells and whistles, and the hotel is short walking distance from the shopping/dining mecca known here as “the Plaza.” We had a great time there, and figured we might repeat it again next year.

Thinking about that this morning, and knowing that our anniversary falls during a pretty busy time around here, I went to the website and checked availability dates, only to see that the weekend of our forthcoming anniversary showed the hotel as booked solid. Wondering (read: “Hoping”) if the website and the reservation system might not be in synch, I called the hotel directly. After the obligatory chit-chat about why we would be staying at the hotel (which ends up being very important), the reservations rep tells me that, yep, the hotel’s booked up thanks to a wedding party group reservation. Lamenting that sad fact but knowing it’s not the rep’s fault, I suggest the following Saturday, as we’d decided that the hotel was enticing enough that waiting an extra week would be worth it. Once again, I’m told the hotel’s booked up for that weekend.

Now, it gets good.

Without any prompting on my part, the reservation rep asks if I’ll hold for a few minutes while she “sees what she can do.” I’m listening to the hold music and slurping on my Monster Energy Drink for a couple of minutes, and then she comes back on to tell me that BAM! Not only can I get a room on the night I originally wanted (which in 2013 actually is our anniversary), but I also can have that aforementioned expensive, elegantly appointed suite, and I get it at a rate cheaper than what I paid last time. She had spoken with the hotel concierge or manager or whomever, explained our situation, and (hopefully) that I’d been cool about the entire sequence of events and that we had a genuine desire to stay there and nowhere else on the night in question. Apparently, that was enough to leapfrog us past whatever other party had requested but not actually confirmed/reserved with payment however many rooms for their group.

My response: “TAKE MY MONEY. I WILL BOOK THAT ROOM RIGHT NOW.” I mean after all that extra effort on the rep’s part, how do you say anything else?

So, while I’m sure somebody somewhere is going to be irked that their kinda sorta but not really reservation is being dorked with, I’m smiling at my good fortune. The rep could’ve just as easily told me to call back after a certain period to see if the wedding party released their hold on the rooms, or whatever, or recommended me to a partner hotel, but instead she did whatever magic she did to help me out. That’s the sort of above-and-beyond action that nets you a Customer for Life.

(EDIT: The establishment in question is The Raphael, a truly beautiful hotel here in Kansas City. The hotel and its staff are first-rate, all around. Not only will we make a habit of staying there for “special occasions” and whatnot, I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a night away from it all. If you can afford it, splurge for their Presidential Suite.)

Next up: Dinner reservations at one of those high-falutin’ Plaza restaurants, but the WardMojo is flowing at full strength, now, so I expect to encounter no difficulties….

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About Dayton Ward

Freelance word pusher. Husband. Dad. Trekkie. Rush fan (the band). Tampa Bay Bucs fan. Observer/derider of human behavior. I know where my towel is.
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10 Responses to Here’s what I call kick-ass customer service.

  1. Brent says:

    My brother Scott sent me here to read this because I live in KC as well. I would be interested to know what hotel it is. My wife and I stayed at the Marriott on the Plaza on our wedding night and we received similar great service. I always like when people post good customer service experiences because all too often people are quick to post bad comments and not the good ones.

    Like

  2. Tom Elias says:

    Awesome story, Dayton. I’ve heard of the Plaza from friends. I hope your night goes as well as the indicators are showing you.

    Like

  3. allisonstein says:

    Awesome! Like my grandma always said, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

    Like

  4. angus48 says:

    Reblogged this on Angus48's Blog and commented:
    This is living a Wil Wheaton quote demonstrated. “Don’t be a dick.” Good job Dayton!

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      People who are dicks to cashiers, restaurant servers, delivery drivers, repair techs, etc. irritate the HELL out of me. Most of the time, the customer is wrong or just being an asshole in those situations, and you know the other person is holding back that urge to tell them to go pound sand, but can’t for fear of losing their job.

      I, on the other hand, have no problem calling such dicks out for their behavior. 🙂

      Like

  5. G. B. Miller says:

    Excellent.

    Having worked on the other side of the counter in what I called “grunt service” (i.e. convenience stores/snack shops/gas stations) for a good 20+ years, it takes a lot of bad service to get my goat, and good service will get me to be permanent patron of that particular busines.

    And yes, you can get almost anything if you have the proper attitude when dealing with a CSR.

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      People who mistreat store clerks, servers, etc. are one of my pet peeves.

      Once, I was stuck in Detroit when flights out were being delayed or cancelled left and right thanks to weather. We’re all standing in line trying to get on other flights/etc. and the guy in front of me is being a total assbag to the CSR behind the counter. I didn’t say anything at the time because she was doing a fine job containing the situation, but I could tell that she was irked with him and I’m almost certain she gave him the most circuitous, time-consuming route home she could find.

      Counter that with me, who greeted her with a smile, and opened with, “So, how’s YOUR day going?”

      Once she stopped laughing, she assurred me that I wouldn’t be getting home on my current flight, but she had a couple of options: I could fly standby on a later flight, or I could wait until the morning and get the first flight out. I was in uniform so she assumed I was in a hurry. Having heard that everyone and their mother was going for the standby option, I decided to go the other way, so I said, “Let’s just make it easy. I don’t need to be home before tomorrow, anyway.” I had been released a day early from my duties as a funeral escort for a fallen Marine, so I really wasn’t in a position to complain.

      (For obvious reasons, this wasn’t info I shared with the CSR.)

      This, apparently, was the right answer, because after first making sure that my checked bag got pulled off the plane I was supposed to be on, she booked me first-class at no upcharge on the next day flight, and put me up at a decent hotel, with a shuttle service to and fro. When I got to the hotel, the manager who checked me in got my story about being “stranded” (there definitely are worse ways to be inconvenienced), and she gave me the key to the mini-bar/fridge in my room along with instructions to “Have at it.” Considering the week I’d just had, this all was a welcome bit of good fortune.

      Moral of the story: Don’t Be A Dick.

      Like

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