Sometimes a good customer experience results simply because someone tries to be helpful. Even inexperienced employees can satisfy a customer just by showing that they care.
Several weeks ago, I traveled to England, visiting an office my company has there. I arrived on Sunday evening and checked into a Marriott hotel. As soon as I reached my room, I realized that I had forgotten to bring an electrical adapter – I needed one to allow my U.S. style power cords to work in the UK power outlets. No problem, I thought – I’ll call down to the front desk and borrow one.
The front desk connected me to Nigel, the on-duty concierge. He explained that, though they normally have adapters available, there were none on hand. [It seems that guests frequently neglected to return them upon departure.] Nigel was happy to call around to find a shop where I could buy one, which seemed like a good enough plan to me. I told him I was on my way out to eat dinner and I would get the info from him as I came through the lobby in a few minutes
It turns out that Nigel had only been on the job for a few weeks (and had only recently moved to this town). He didn’t know much about businesses in the area (or about their opening hours, which often don’t cover Sunday evenings). Still, he knew how to use Google and was diligently phoning when I got to the lobby. He was earnest and eager to help, but wasn’t having any success. As I waited through several phone calls, he was very attentive and apologetic.
As I listened to him calling, I glanced at a map of the city that sat on his desk. I noticed that, about ½ mile away, there was another Marriott hotel. When Nigel hung up from the latest unsuccessful phone call, I asked “Is it possible to call the other Marriott, to see if they might have one?” Nigel’s face lit up with excitement. “Brilliant! Let me ring them up and ask,” he responded.
It worked – twenty minutes later, at the other Marriott, I was greeted by Eva, who happily provided two adapters, assuring me that I could simply return them to my own hotel when I checked out. With adapters in hand, I went back to the High Street, found a pub, and enjoyed my evening.
What’s the lesson here? My problem was solved, but not because of any particular skill or action from Nigel. In fact, based on my experience, it’s not clear that he’s even competent at his job. Still, in spite of his fumbling, my customer experience was really good. He cared. He eagerly tried to help me. He didn’t give up after a few initial frustrations. In the end, I got what I needed and was happy with the outcome.
For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:
Providing a good customer experience can be as simple as showing that you care.