It's not the prettiest building in the world, but customer service at The Marriott Hotel in Canary Wharf is pretty good. It's a culture, and you can tell that by the way it treats you when you are not even a guest.
At the weekend I had a problem. My iPhone is now three years old, which means that it is starting to have problems. So now, when it tells me that my battery is low and that there is only 20% left, it likes to follow it up almost immediately by dumping that 20% suddenly and without warning. The person that I was meeting had not arrived at the right time and place and I was now out of contact.
I asked in a couple of bars whether there was a phone charger behind the bar and was treated as though I had asked for something really unusual. In one bar I could see the right charger on the side behind the bar, but was still told that there was none available. Why do some people go into the hospitality industry?
It is very difficult to find a working phone box these days. That's not something that you find out until you need it. So I decided to head for the most likely place where I could get help. I like Marriott Hotels, and I felt there was a good chance that they would have a payphone. The doorman listened with genuine interest and sent me to the concierge who let me use a phone. All of this was done in such a way that it was no trouble at all, because actually it was no trouble at all. One quick phone call and everything was sorted out. The doorman saw me leaving, opened the door and checked that I had been able to use the phone.
This simple little story shows the difference between people who care and people who do not care. It demonstrates that customer service is a culture that is about how people behave and how an organisation's people treat the people who cross their path, whether they are a customer or not.
I liked Marriott Hotels before, and when I was in need I headed for their doors. What happened next confirmed that but more than that I now LOVE Marriott Hotels. I have told this story a few times, I have written about it and I will tell it again.
This is how you create a 'brand ambassador'.