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Real-Time Relevance

The JW Marriott in Indianapolis is going to love this article.  I had the privilege of staying there for eight days while attending the National Speakers Association annual convention.  The entire stay was flawless.  It was perfect.  It met, if not exceeded, every expectation I had of the hotel, including the staff, the food and more. From the moment I drove onto the hotel property, the “magic” began.  I was greeted as I got out of the cab by the doormen.  As soon as I stepped into the lobby, I was greeted at the door and led over to the check-in counter, where the same person who had greeted me checked me into my room.  Once finished checking in, she walked me over to the elevators and informed me that there were two sets of elevators and to make sure I used the correct ones to get to my room.  She made sure that I knew about other important features of the hotel, such as the Starbucks located on the second floor, the workout facility and more. Great way to start. Throughout the stay, virtually every hotel employee I walked by always said, “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.”

Okay, you get the idea.  The service was really amazing.

Why?  More than just being nice, the employees were engaging.  They proactively managed the interactions they had with guests, even if it was something as simple as saying, “Good morning.” There was one very cool incident I must share that was over the top.  It was truly a “WOW” moment.  One morning my wife was running late to the morning general session, and wanted to get a cup of coffee.  When she saw how long the line was, she realized she would just have to do without it.  One of the hotel employees noticed she was frustrated as she ran off to the meeting.  Ten minutes into the meeting, this hotel employee found my wife and gave her a cup of coffee.  I couldn’t believe it.  She almost fainted. Okay, not really, but she was pretty taken aback by the amazing customer service she just received.  This guy noticed that she wanted the cup of coffee and took it upon himself to get her a cup, and then searched for her in an audience of over 1,000 people – and found her – which was actually as impressive, if not more so, than bringing the coffee.

Someone next to me couldn’t believe it either.

I commented, “This is the kind of thing that just happens to me.  And, many people think I make up these stories.” So other than the coffee story, which was extraordinary, the rest of the great service I received was the norm for the JW Marriott.  On the last day, I searched for the manager, Scott Blalock, who could be found at the checkout area wishing his guests a safe trip home.  I complimented him and told him how impressed I was with his team.  I asked him what the secret was.  He said that he trained the team on “real-time relevance.” Real-time relevance, as Mr. Blalock explained, is when employees engage customers in real-time at every possible interaction.  And each of those interactions is relevant.  Each individual interaction may not appear to be all that important by itself, but the combination of all of them may be the most important contribution to the overall customer experience. The lesson is simple: Make every interaction count, even the small ones.  They are all relevant. Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn. (Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

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