In my day job I have been involved in planning my organization´s annual staff conferences for many years. Since 1992, I´ve worked closely with Omni hotels in Austin (both downtown and Southpark) Corpus Christi, and in Las Colinas (near Dallas/Fort Worth Airport).
My last two experiences involved working closely with the staff at the Omni Mandalay in December 2004 and again two weeks ago. The Omni Mandalay is located about 10 minutes from Dallas/Fort Worth airport Last year we brought 202 staff in for a three-day conference. This year we came back with 411.
Regardless of the type or size of your business, if you are interested in offering legendary customer service, you could learn a thing or two from the award winning Omni.1. They are professional. They kept their commitments, met their deadlines, made suggestions to ease our planning. They promptly returned telephone calls and e-mail queries.
2. They listened. We had some wild and crazy ideas, but they worked with us. They did turn us down when we asked if we could have our Chief Staff Officer ride in on a Harley (what´s a little carpet burn between friends:-) but when we had a concern or a need they responded with a prompt solution.
3. They were flexible. They couldn´t get the bartenders there 30 minutes earlier (I don´t know why, we gave them 20 minutes warning:-) But they were able to get them there 20 minutes early. We underestimated the amount of food we needed for one session and they supplied more without charge as the event unfolded. When their AV system was less than perfect, they adjusted our bill.
4. Their facilities are excellent. With 400 people staying in the hotel, we only received one guest room related complaint when one of our staff, an asthmatic, was placed in a smoking room. They quickly moved her. Contrast this with the nearby Wyndham where we put about eighteen staff and had four complaints. It was clear to those of us staying at the Wyndham that there was a distinct gap in the way the staff of the two hotels responded to customer service challenges. The Omni staff were much more customer focused. All the facilities, guestrooms, conference room, fitness center, restaurants were well maintained and professionally staffed.
5. We had a single point of contact with our banquet person. Cameron was nearly always available and ready to resolve last minute problems or concerns.
6. They were accessible. Even when Cameron wasn´t available, someone else backed him up and helped us out.
What does this mean to you? Is your staff professional? Do they have good listening skills? Are they flexible? Do you offer a product or service known for its quality? Can your customers contact your company and talk to someone familiar with their needs? Are your employees accessible after normal business hours if necessary?
More importantly, is your business committed to customer service, or are you just trying to make a profit? If we had an unpleasant experience with any of the Omni hotels, we would have taken our business elsewhere. It´s obvious that a company-wide commitment to customer service is a part of the Omni´s corporate DNA. In other words, we have remained customers of Omni because of their commitment to quality, to customer service, and to competitive pricing.
Lagniappe: The Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau provided us with free name badges, holders, lanyards, bags, maps, pens, etc. They also delivered when they said they would. Well done and Thanks!