Do your best customers feel welcomed?


Share on LinkedIn

Responsive - Doorman copyMy family and I will travel to Breckenridge next month over spring break. As we do every year, we’ll be staying at our favorite lodge at the base of the mountain. When making the reservation back in January, I requested a slope-side view with the understanding that any request would be noted as a preference, not a guarantee.

During my conversation with the reservations agent, he acknowledged our previous stays and hinted that this would be taken into consideration when assigning units closer to our arrival date. I appreciated that a returning guest’s loyalty would weigh in the decision and felt confident, as this was our fifth stay at the lodge, that we had a good chance of scoring a slope-side view.

So, imagine my surprise when I received a “welcome” letter from the lodge last weekend that, besides misspelling my name, opened with: “Thank you for choosing (our lodge) for your upcoming visit. Whether you are returning or visiting for the first time, we look forward to welcoming you…”

Huh? Although the lodge had no trouble spelling my name correctly when they accepted my credit card information to pay for accommodations and lift tickets in advance, they misspelled it when “welcoming” me. While paying attention to detail separates extraordinary companies from their ordinary counterparts, I can excuse the misspelling. What was far worse was the lack of acknowledgement that I was a returning guest who had pledged his loyalty (and his wallet) to the lodge for years.

Although there are a dozen other places we could stay, my family and I choose to return to this particular lodge. Smart lodging companies mine the data they receive from guest satisfaction surveys to uncover clues to better attract, serve, and foster ongoing (and profitable) relationships with guests like me. Specifically, they ask questions pertaining to one’s intent to return and intent to recommend. These companies know that guests who respond favorably to these questions are gold! Not only do these customers cost less to serve, they are more profitable and, through their gushing word-of-mouth endorsements, serve as an unpaid legion of marketers for the company.

But instead of recognizing me as a repeat, loyal guest (a partner in the lodge’s success would not be an overstatement), the lodge sent me the same welcome letter they send to a first-time customer who got a deal on And that makes me feel more like an expendable “unit occupant” than a valued, loyal guest.

Don’t settle for ordinary. Choose extraordinary. (It’s always a choice.) Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.

Watch the 90-second book trailer.

Illustration by Aaron McKissen.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Curtin
Steve Curtin is the author of Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary. He wrote the book to address the following observation: While employees consistently execute mandatory job functions for which they are paid, they inconsistently demonstrate voluntary customer service behaviors for which there is little or no additional cost to their employers. After a 20-year career with Marriott International, Steve now devotes his time to speaking, consulting, and writing on the topic of extraordinary customer service.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here