How Do You Do Special?
All companies strive to provide exceptional service, but few do what I call..."Special.” How do you do Special? “Special” are those little things that a company can do and must do in today’s competitive marketplace to make its customers stand up and, not only say, " Wow, now that was special," but want to tell the world about how exceptionally special it was.
Let me share an example of "How do you do special?" that I experienced recently.
One of my favorite hotels in New York City is The Muse on West 46th street. It is conveniently located right off of Times Square and centrally located to all points north, south east west of Manhattan. Translation – you can get there from here easily.
The Muse is a Kimpton Hotel. You animal lovers will know instantly what I am talking about. They cater to guests and their animals. You want to bring your favorite pooch to New York and forgot the bowl, no problem, Kimpton's got you covered. You get the idea. Now my wife and I don't own a dog or any animal for that matter, but what I have learned is any hotel that caters to guests’ animals knows a lot about catering to their guests’ littlest, quirkiest needs, wants and desires. And that makes for a great hotel.
Last month, I was leading a workshop in Chicago at Morningstar's office. Across the street was Hotel Burnham, a Kimpton Hotel, where my staff and I stayed. It was a vintage hotel, the kind of place Al Capone camped out in his heyday. I checked in around 6:05 pm. As the young lady behind the counter checked me in she said, “Mr Epstein, we have free complimentary wine tasting from 5-6 pm every night.” I responded by saying, "Unfortunately, I am only staying overnight and checking out in the morning and I'll miss the wine tasting." She smiled pleasantly and said, "Just one minute." She went in the back room and came out and handed me a bottle of wine and said, “I hope you enjoy."
Now that was nice, but it was not the special moment I am writing about. As she handed me my key she asked, "Is there anything else I can do for you this evening." I smiled and playfully said, “Well, I am feeling a little forlorn." She asked, "And why is that?" I responded, “Well, I left my dog at home and I really miss him."
Without blinking an eyelash, she said sweetly, “Would you like a fish sent up to your room?" A fish? Her response left me speechless. I don't believe I have ever had any one offer me a fish (have you?), let alone a hotel desk receptionist! "Really?" I answered in complete awe. "Certainly," she said. “I’ll have a fish sent up to your room immediately." "Thank you,” I smiled. “I don't believe I have ever had a fish sent up to my room." "My pleasure," she responded. "Is there anything else I can do for you?" "No," I said, "I think you've done me ‘special’ just fine!"
Still stunned, I made my way to the elevator, my bottle of wine in hand and my anticipation for my fish wrapped tightly in my imagination. Not less than five minutes after checking into my room, there was a tap on my door. "Room service." Like a little child on Christmas morning I opened the door with anticipation.
Sure enough, standing at my door was a hotel employee holding a large glass bowl, filled with water, a rainbow of colorful glass stones and a beautiful bright red beta fish swimming around a bright blue sea corral! "Have a nice evening," he smiled and handed me my own personal fish! Amazed, I closed the door, placed the bowl gently on the night stand by my bed, and sat down for 30 restful minutes admiring my fish and the special treatment I had just received. Special! You bet!!
How do you do special?
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