Last post was about my recent experience of hearing John Bogle share his wisdom. What I did not share was the exceptional customer service I received while attending his talk at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, deciding Bogle’s talk and Four Seasons customer service were so exceptional they each deserve a seperate missive.
Those of you who have had the pleasure of spending any time at a Four Seasons Hotel know that the experience is always wonderful due to beautiful facilities and wonderful service. They truly are a beacon for those wanting to understand how to please your customers and turn them into your best spokespeople. In spite of the fact that this is their normal culture I was astounded by the lengths they went to for me, merely a visitor passing through for a business breakfast, not someone staying in a fancy suite or even a regular room.
I parked my car a few blocks away at the inexpensive parking garage I favor when visiting downtown Philadelphia. It requires a 10 minute walk to downtown so I get some exercise while paying less than a third of the parking rate of the downtown garages. The sky is overcast with a bit of light rain so I set off at my usual brisk pace with umbrella raised.
Half a block into my walk, the heavens open. Another half block and I realize that my umbrella is not up to the task. It seems to have a broken tine…a regular problem with those that fold up into a small size. Worse, the very fabric has become porous so the rain is leaking through all over my nice suit.
Six blocks later as I dash under the overhang in front of the hotel, I am soaked.
The doorman and a few other people watch as I walk the few yards to the front door. I am brushing off my suit and shaking my head, but calm at my predicament while thinking what an idiot I am for saving a few dollars while fully aware that rain was imminent.
The doorman smiles as I approach and says “can I offer you a plastic bag for your umbrella?” I laugh, shake the broken thing in front of him and respond that “it’s broken and leaks. Look at me. How about you just throw it away for me?”
Instantly he takes it from my hand and with a broad smile reaches into the umbrella stand next to him. He pulls out one of the nice umbrellas they keep there for hotel guests venturing out, hands it to me, and says “take one of ours in replacement.”
I am amazed, delighted, and hugely thankful.
With new umbrella swinging over my arm I enter the hotel and wander over to the room where Bogle is speaking. There is a large area in front of it with a nice breakfast buffet and a few people already there. One of the hotel people working there takes a look at me, walks over and asks “would I like him to take my jacket downstairs and get it dried out and pressed? It will only take five minutes.”
Again amazed and delighted I empty the pockets, shrug it off, and hand it to him. He disappears, jacket in hand. I immediately begin sharing my story with everyone I meet.
A few minutes later he returns, walks up to me, and with great sorrow in his voice apologizes for the fact that he didn’t realize how soaked the jacket was so it was going to take a few extra minutes and he hoped it was okay.
Need I say I am even more impressed.
Soon her returns with my jacket nice and dry and in perfect shape. With a big smile he hands it to me and wishes me a nice day.
Since that day I have shared this story with quite a few people. Now with this post it goes out everywhere to many more. The value of exceptional customer service? Ask Four Seasons Hotels.
I did make one mistake, or perhaps it’s two. In my amazement at the way I was treated I neglected to ask the name of either gentleman who provided such exceptional service so I could mention them to the hotel. And then when leaving I had to rush off and forgot to stop at the front desk and say something. When I realized this later I was embarrassed at my lapse, so unlike me. So in hopes that the hotel will know who these wonderful fellows are I’m sending this post to the general manager fo the hotel. Such service deserves recognition.