I have read several business books on creating a “wow” experience. I even try to create some experiences at my job. A “wow” experience is something that catches you off guard; an experience that you were not expecting and it goes beyond your expectations. To be honest I am not sure I had ever had a “wow” experience. Last week that changed for me.
For the last five weeks my daughter had been traveling with a study abroad program. She made all of her own flight and travel arrangements. She had a long layover coming back in Houston so I suggested she stay at the hotel attached to the airport. She made her reservations and went on her trip. While she was gone I noticed the hotel had already charged my credit card. I asked her to send me her confirmation number so I could check her reservation. She was staying at the Marriott Houston Airport, so I called the desk there and asked about her reservation. They could not find anything on file. As we talked I told them how they had already charged my card and she had not gotten there yet. The lady came back on the phone and said that the reservation was made for June 4th and not July 4th. I told her my priority was getting a room on July 4th. She made a new reservation and told me that she would turn it over to customer service and I would hear from them in four to five business days. In my mind I thought I know how this is going to end, but mistakes happen.
Here is where the story starts getting good. Amanda Carson,Senior Rooms Operations Manager, emailed back in two days not five and adjusted the charge to my card. I emailed the Amanda back and thanked her for doing that. The mistake was on our end and not theirs. They had every right to charge me. I explained to her that my daughter was in China for five weeks doing a study abroad program and she had just accidentally clicked the wrong button when she made her reservation. That was a nice thing for her to do. Marriott had my attention at this point.
The “wow” came next. Amanda emailed back and said she knew my daughter would be tired when she arrived. Could I give her the flight information and she would have a snack basket waiting for her in her room. When my daughter arrived at her room there was a snack basket waiting on her. The basket had a “welcome back” note on it with her name. This was above and beyond. Not only had they adjusted my charge when they did not have to; they also showed concern for my daughter and made sure she had a great welcome when she arrived. At this point as a father they had my loyalty. I am not sure what their cost was on the basket, but it is paying dividends. Granted I do not get a chance to travel very much, but when I do I will check on Marriott first. Also; how many people do you think I have told about this? Several in person, this Blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. I know they are a business and they have to make a profit, but in this day and age it was nice to see a business with a personal touch.
Having the right people in customer service is key for any business. Marriott at Houston Airport has a great team. My daughter talked about how every person at that hotel went above and beyond to make sure she had everything she needed. They even helped her with her flight the next morning. It was great to have a “wow” experience.
The question now becomes “ how can I give others a wow experience?” We never know what will make an impact on someone.