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A For Effort, F For Execution

A funny thing happened to me recently at a hotel in New Orleans.  My stay at this hotel was, as usual, very nice.  But, there was one small glitch.  It is a funny story worth telling that makes for a good lesson. Upon check-in the front-desk clerk offered me two coupons for bottled water, which […]

A funny thing happened to me recently at a hotel in New Orleans.  My stay at this hotel was, as usual, very nice.  But, there was one small glitch.  It is a funny story worth telling that makes for a good lesson.

Upon check-in the front-desk clerk offered me two coupons for bottled water, which she said I could find in the mini-bar.  She said to simply take the water out of the mini-bar and leave the coupon in the empty place.  That way I wouldn’t be charged for the bottled water.  This was a nice little perk considering that they charge $4.00 for that little bottle of water.

One problem.  To get into the mini-bar you need a key, and they had somehow run out of the keys.  She said I could come back tomorrow to see if any guests had turned in mini-bar keys. Another problem.  I was checking out tomorrow.   I brought this to her attention and she seemed somewhat embarrassed.  Her explanation was that she was told to give away the coupons.  So she was just doing what she was told to do, even though common sense dictated that she should probably stop giving away the coupons until they had more keys. Ultimately, we both laughed about it.

Companies work hard to train their people to take care of customers and do the right thing. Delivering great service is really a lot of common sense.  Empower employees to do the right thing and to question things that go against simple and basic common sense. Sure, you can go above and beyond.  Free bottled water in a hotel that usually charges for it is a nice perk, but the customer has to be able to get it.  The above story, trite (and almost funny) as it might be, makes a serious point:

You can get an A for effort, but an F for execution.  In this case F means failure.  I only want an F when it means flawless, first-rate and fantastic.

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