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How Do You Do Special?

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All companies strive to provideexceptional service, but few do what I call..."Special.” How do you doSpecial? “Special” are those little things that a company can do and must do intoday’s competitive marketplace to make its customers stand up and, not onlysay, " Wow, now that was special," but want to tell the world abouthow exceptionally special it was.

Let me share an example of "How doyou do special?" that I experienced recently.

One of my favorite hotels in New York Cityis The Muse on West 46th street. It is conveniently located right off of TimesSquare 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 animallovers will know instantly what I am talking about. They cater to guests andtheir animals. You want to bring your favorite pooch to New York and forgot thebowl, no problem, Kimpton's got you covered. You get the idea. Now my wife andI don't own a dog or any animal for that matter, but what I have learned is anyhotel 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 Chicagoat 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 AlCapone camped out in his heyday. I checked in around 6:05 pm. As the young ladybehind the counter checked me in she said, “Mr Epstein, we have freecomplimentary wine tasting from 5-6 pm every night.” I responded by saying,"Unfortunately, I am only staying overnight and checking out in themorning and I'll miss the wine tasting." She smiled pleasantly and said, "Justone minute." She went in the back room and came out and handed me a bottleof wine and said, “I hope you enjoy."

Now that was nice, but it was not thespecial moment I am writing about. As she handed me my key she asked, "Isthere anything else I can do for you this evening." I smiled and playfullysaid, “Well, I am feeling a little forlorn." She asked, "And why isthat?" I responded, “Well, I left my dog at home and I really misshim."

Without blinking an eyelash, she saidsweetly, “Would you like a fish sent up to your room?"  A fish? Her response left me speechless. Idon't believe I have ever had any one offer me a fish (have you?), let alone ahotel desk receptionist! "Really?" I answered in complete awe. "Certainly," shesaid. “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 dofor you?" "No," I said, "I think you've done me ‘special’just fine!"

Still stunned, I made my way to theelevator, my bottle of wine in hand and my anticipation for my fish wrappedtightly in my imagination. Not less than five minutes after checking into myroom, there was a tap on my door. "Room service." Like a little childon Christmas morning I opened the door with anticipation.

Sure enough, standing at my door was ahotel employee holding a large glass bowl, filled with water, a rainbow ofcolorful glass stones and a beautiful bright red beta fish swimming around abright blue sea corral!  "Have anice evening," he smiled and handed me my own personal fish! Amazed, Iclosed the door, placed the bowl gently on the night stand by my bed, and satdown for 30 restful minutes admiring my fish and the special treatment I hadjust received. Special! You bet!!

How do you do special?


Hotel Burnham
1 W. Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602 
Phone # 312-728-1111 

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