branding

When was the last time you felt "welcomed home"?

When was the last time you felt “welcomed home” by a brand?

Ralphie and Snuggels back home and getting ready for a bath!

Ralphie and Snuggels back home and getting ready for a bath!

In the winter we took a trip that wasn’t for pleasure but was necessary. Both Snuggles (a small pink bear) and Ralphie (a small brown bear) have been traveling with us since our daughter was a baby.  We once lost Ralphie at a Disney hotel. He got tangled up in the bed sheets when the maid cleaned the room. Lucky for us, we realized that he was missing and immediately alerted the lost and found at the hotel; and, once we identified him we got him back. We escaped a bad outcome. 

Well for this winter trip, we stayed in two different hotels over a short four day period. It was a memorial and burial for my Mom. So, we weren’t as sharp as we normally are due to the circumstances. 

This was mid-February. 

Fast forward to April we realized that Snuggles and Ralphie were missing. 

I called the last hotel we stayed at near the Charlotte airport and they informed me that they only keep lost and found items for 30 days but they would take a look around and get back to me if they found something.  I chalked that up to lost cause. 

I then called the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Hickory, NC where we stayed first. I should mention that this is the same hotel that I stayed at for my monthly visits down to see my mother when she was ill. On our last visit, there was a sympathy card in our room signed by the entire staff.  

I was informed that housekeeping would get back to me. 

They did. 

Not only did the head of housekeeping call me. She was holding both Snuggles and Ralphie and giving me a full description of each. 

This was great news!  They found the bears and kept them!  Now to get them home. 

I worked with the front desk to ship them out via UPS to our home. Both arrived unharmed the following week. And, my daughter was happy to welcome them home. 

This hotel property didn’t disappoint me. They have always showed exemplary customer service by learning my name, my sibling names that stayed there from out of town, greeting us and always ensuring that all of our requests were met.  

In the day where every company claims that they deliver excellence in customer service there are few who truly execute well. Here’s what the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Hickory, NC delivered to me and my family for over a year in customer service; they:

·         Made it Personal - from the Front Desk to the Breakfast Waitress they made it a point to not only greet us but get to know us. 

·         Cared – they felt our pain every month as we visited our sick Mother. Always giving us a word of encouragement. 

·         Listened - they couldn’t make it personal or care without listening to us. (Really listening). 

·         Followed Up - they did what they said they would do. The housekeeper followed up; the front desk shipped the bears. 

Many brands talk about customer service but how many of us deliver a high level of service on a consistent basis throughout every level of the company?  

It took welcoming Snuggles and Ralphie home to remind me that this hotel made me feel welcomed each month I stepped through their lobby doors.  What are you doing to make your customers feel like they are being welcomed every time they come back?

 

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. 

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit

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