I recently went to Phoenix Arizona to speak at a small business expo. Phoenix was a great city and the expo was a really enjoyable. I was able to speak to many small business owners and learn how they marketed their products and services.
I stayed at The Grand Sheraton, located downtown. On the flight and during the stay at my hotel, I wrote some content for my book. One section of the book is about customer service, so my senses here heightened while in Phoenix.
At the hotel, I asked for a room as high as possible since I heard that the hotel is one of the tallest in the city. I was given a nice room on the 24th floor. After unpacking and booting up my laptop, I noticed that there was a $14.95 charge for wifi in the room.
On my way out, I stopped at the desk to inquire about the charge. The desk clerk was able to waive the charge and provide complimentary wifi since I was not aware of the fees ahead of time. This made me happy and will remember that Sheraton looked out for me.
That night I ate dinner at Nook Kitchen. I sat at the bar. The waiter, I think Justin was his name, helped me choose a good meal and even went out of his way to pair a glass of wine for the scallops I ordered. He mentioned a couple of wine options, then told me about another wine that he said I needed to try. After tasting, I went with the Chardonnay he let me taste.
Justin was very attentive and made sure that I had a full glass of water and made small talk with me since I was eating alone. He had other patrons and was really good at making them feel important and attended to.
On the morning of my flight, I ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant, District. I put two meal cards that I received when checking in on the table. After ordering my meal, the waiter noticed I was checking on my flight and that I had two meal cards. He asked if I wanted to use the card for a to-go meal. I did not know that was possible and asked what would travel well. He recommended an omelet and I accepted.
I am glad I got the extra meal because my flight had delays and there was no meal service. First, I offered to take a later flight when American Airlines offered a travel voucher. I have never done this before and asked what I needed to do. I was told that I only needed to provide my name.
Once everyone boarded the plane, I became worried because I did not hear anything from the counter. When I asked about getting another flight, I was told that they did not need the seat anymore and I could get on the plane. I was last to board. I am not sure what would have happened if I did not ask about the flight! I am not sure if I will take another voucher offer in the future. When I discussed the event on Twitter, American asked a few questions, then apologized for the issue, but really did not make me feel much better about the event.
We were delayed getting to the gate in Charlotte, NC once we landed due to weather, then my connecting flight was delayed. I did get home at a decent hour and the whole experience could have been very stressful, but I rolled with the punches.
My experience in Phoenix was pleasurable and I hope to visit again for personal reasons. When people go out of their way to help customers, it creates memorable experiences. These experiences help drive repeat business, positive reviews, and word of mouth referrals. Negative experiences leave a bad taste in the mouth and deteriorate brand perception. Strive to provide the best possible customer service you can and customers will notice.