Experience the Employee Difference


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Picture this: YOU, in a hotel that takes “Pride in the knowledge that our guests can count on Marriott’s unique blend of quality, consistency, personalized service, and recognition almost anywhere they travel in the world or whichever Marriott brand they choose”.

Picture this: That, not happening.

Got the picture? During a business trip, while staying at The Southfield Marriott, consistency, quality and personalized service were compromised by a few employees, a poor system and expectations gone awry. The only part of the Core Values that we experienced was that it was all pretty unique…only not all in a good way.

Since they provided a new snapshot (keep reading so you can see for yourself), I don’t want to spend too much time detailing the events that initially inspired this blog. So here is the short, family-friendly version:

  • Intermittent internet connection that rivaled dial-up speed
  • Zero empathy from the manager on duty the 1st time we (by we, I mean, Kelly) told him about the issue
  • Zero work accomplished in a 3 hour period due to getting booted off the internet every other minute
  • Wondering if I could cover bail for Kelly after we continued to get no assistance or human-like response from the manager
  • Hearing Kelly say, “He’s lucky I’m fat and tired or I’d jump that front desk like Jackie Joyner-Kersee.”
  • And just an FYI to hotel managers: telling frustrated travelers, “There is a cap in our bandwidth” only plants the seed of “capping somebody” if it’s not fixed. Just sayin’…

After sharing our concerns, blowing up our Twitter stream and putting a spotlight on @MarriottIntl, we finally felt as if they cared about our experience enough to respond in a professional manner that didn’t involve excuses, condescension or bail money.

New picture.

YOU, in the same hotel, suddenly receiving outstanding service from 3 top notch employees who had no knowledge of the previous experience.

Three employees breathing life into the brand; thus repairing your relationship and retaining your business.

Got the picture? It only takes a few employees, systems and unmet expectations to alienate consumers. A lucky business will also have employees who “get it”: understand that your mission statement is more than words on a website; a page in the employee handbook; or a marketing ploy to gain business.

So let’s recognize the employees who “got it”!

First up: Leonard Boyd, Restaurant Supervisor who demonstrated all the behaviors that support the Marriott brand. He went out of his way to ensure we were enjoying our stay, and we weren’t even in the restaurant. After connecting with us, and watching us eat our “pre-meal” in the concierge lounge, he graciously extended an invitation to The Fire Iron Grill (the hotel restaurant). He did not question the fact that technically, we would be eating two meals. Bless his heart.

Leonard made a special trip to get us a menu and gave honest suggestions based on our palate (aka voracious appetites). It was obvious he knew the menu and actually ate the food: clearly, a good sign. When we told him we might still eat our post-meal elsewhere, he enthusiastically invited us to waddle down and say hello. He created a personalized, professional and positive experience. Leonard resuscitated the Marriott brand like an ER doctor bringin’ back the dead.

Second up: Linda Jackson, waitress at The Fire Iron Grill. (Yep, our post-meal location had been confirmed). Linda made us feel like we were the only guests in the restaurant. She provided personalized service by laughing at our jokes (not an easy task) and joking along with us. She also gave us honest suggestions, her undivided attention and prompt service that created the perfect post-meal dining experience.

Linda knows her customers and treats them well. She has a gift for creating the “home away from home” experience that business travelers treasure. Her down to earth personality and ability to keep it real was a refreshing bonus to a delicious post-meal. By the time we left, we were hugging her goodbye and looking forward to our next visit. And if she’s not working that night, we want her to join us for dinner, kick back and have a cocktail. Linda performed the Heimlich Maneuver of Service: keeping the Marriott brand from choking on it’s own words.

And then there is Kortney Myers. We entered the concierge room on a daily basis to pillage for food and check out our pre-meal options. She intuitively recognized our need for hourly feedings. Kortney went above and beyond to meet our unique needs. She saved us cookies every evening before they were devoured by other guests while we were away enjoying our post-meal. Her smiling face, outgoing personality and genuine care for the experience of all guests were shining examples of someone who understands and delivers service excellence.

Kortney demonstrates the Marriott brand naturally and effortlessly. Her enthusiasm, skill and dedication make a difference. She created an experience that made us feel like honored guests rather than customers. After long days of training and being on stage, we returned to the hotel every night to be greeted by Kortney: the goddess of extraordinary service! Kortney restored our faith in the Marriott brand like a preacher converting an atheist! Can I get an, “Amen”!

So there you have it…our photo album from a recent business trip. What pictures do consumers take of your business? We hope you can answer that, because in this day of social media, we love to share pictures! The painful days of the carousel slide projector are long gone. Say, “cheese”!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jen Kuhn
Jennifer Kuhn is a talented, energetic and enthusiastic consultant, trainer and speaker. She has provided thousands of employees, coaches and executives with guidance while they work to enhance their professional skill development. Jen's approach has been hailed by participants who were initially skeptical or resistant. Her unique and non-threatening style wins over the most jaded employee that allows them to learn and grow within their organization.


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