Years ago, one of my clients made special arrangements for vendor partners and company associates from out of town to stay at a small boutique hotel in San Francisco. I do a great deal of traveling, but can still vividly remember the experience of driving up to the hotel for the first time, having the valet open the door of the taxi, take my bags out of the trunk and give me an extremely warm greeting saying, “Mr. Shapiro, welcome to the Pan Pacific Hotel”. How did the hotel associate know my name? He probably read the tag from my luggage as he was removing my bags from the back of the cab. It was a little thing, but it made such a big difference.
I then proceeded up to the third floor lobby, where as soon as I approached the front desk, the folks behind the counter said “Mr. Shapiro, we are so glad to see you today.” Once again, it made me feel welcomed, important and appreciated.
A few months later, I traveled again to San Francisco and returned to the Pan Pacific Hotel. When I entered my room, I realized they had upgraded me to a small suite and there was a handwritten note addressed to me on top of a large fruit basket saying, “Mr. Shapiro, we welcome you back to the Pan Pacific Hotel. We appreciate your business.” I thought to myself, “Wow, they had determined in advance what room I would be in…even before I ever arrived.” These small actions indicated an attention to detail and a level of forethought that I truly appreciated.
This series of encounters made me feel that the hotel valued my business during that stay but equally as important, they wanted to see me in the future as well. It’s the little things that do make a difference. Say my name in a meaningful manner, give that special smile that makes me feel welcomed, write that unique, handwritten note and communicate the message that you do truly appreciate my business. Are all of these actions too much to ask? I think not. After all, I still remember driving up to the hotel almost 20 years later as if it were yesterday.
What are the ‘little things’ that you and your associates can do to make your customers and guests feel welcomed and to differentiate your company from the others?