Two Most Powerful (and Uncommon) Customer Service Words
I wondered, “Will there be any rooms available for Kathy and me?”
We were attending a wedding just south of Sedona, Arizona. I’d never been in that part of the country. The mountains, the weather, the air, the hiking, the restaurants, and the people. It was all so special.
We decided to spend another three days exploring on our own. We’d see Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon.
The only problem, we couldn’t find a room that suited us.
I went on the Hilton app and found a Hampton Inn in Sedona. Just perfect, I thought. I picked up the last room with a king-size bed and a little extra room so I could do some work.
It all worked out until…
We arrived at twelve the day of check-in. I knew the room wouldn’t be ready but told them who we were and asked to store our bags. Seth, the manager, was very helpful. He stored our bags. I asked him for a bit of touring advice. He pointed out a few places of interest. He then said, “You room will be ready after 3 pm.”
I called the hotel while having dinner. I knew they were sold out, and we would now be arriving after 7 pm. The desk clerk told me the room was ready, no problem.
When we checked into the hotel and got to our room, it wasn’t the room I had reserved and paid for. I went back to the front desk and said, “There must be a mistake.” After explaining what I had reserved and watching the clerk noodle on her keyboard, she came back with, “That’s all we have. It is the best I can do.”
Back to the room I went.
I told Kathy what happened. “Let’s unpack and make the best of it,” I said. She didn’t have a problem. She never does. It is always me.
After unpacking, I decide this wasn’t right.
I went back to the front desk and said, “We will stay, but I want one night comped and the room rate adjusted. I don’t know if you have the authority to do it or not. If you don’t, ask your manager. I’l be back in the morning.”
The next morning, Seth, the manager, was there with the night clerk.
I was thinking the worst. This guy was going to make all this out to be my fault. Or worse yet, the fault of the “system” or God knows what else.
But I never expected him to say it was his fault. I introduced myself and asked, “Did you comp the room for one night?”
The night clerk, not waiting for Seth to speak, said, “When I saw the note, I did it.”
Then Seth said, “I am sorry for what happened to you. I apologize. It was my mistake.”
When he said this, I stood there in front of these two men, flabbergasted. I didn’t say a word for a few seconds. Then I said, “Thank you.” And left for our day of activities.
All that day and night I kept coming back to what Seth did.
He took responsibility for making a mistake.
He comped me one night and reduced my rate for the next two nights.
The next morning I told Seth, “What you did was so unusual in today’s world. I compliment you on your excellent customer service. You took responsibility and did your best to make it right for me.”
He replied, “Thanks for noticing that. Not many people do. I always believed it is best to own my mistakes and then try my best to satisfy our guest. I believe it is the right thing to do.”
As I left his desk, I was happy. I was happy because I met an honest man and a confident man. He served me the best he could. When he apologized for making a mistake, it was then up to me to forgive him. I did. We connected.
We all make mistakes. I make mistakes. We are people, and we aren’t perfect. Why is it so hard to admit it and say, “I’m sorry. What can I do to make you happy?”