Friday, July 13, 2007

Really, really good customer service at the Buffalo Hampton Inn.

I recently made a shuffle off to Buffalo, where I stayed - at my client's corporate rate, thank you - at The Hampton Inn and Suites.

It was my first time in Buffalo since, on a childhood family trip to Chicago,  in the broiling heat, our packed to the gills car got a flat tire just outside the city. Which is a whole saga in itself. The punchline of that particular story is that for the second half of our trip, my father had to make up for lost time. So, rather than stop for lunch the next day we drove pell-mell across Ohio and Indiana, swigging down warm Pepsi's and eating those god-awful marshmallow circus peanuts. (My mother was, obviously, not a party to this adventure. She had flown to Chicago with the two "little kids". The "big three" got to drive with Dad. Yahoo! My mother's idea of breakfast always involved milk and eggs. My father's idea of breakfast was a Danish as big as your head.)

In any case, I can't remember when I've experienced hotel customer service was as fine as that provided by the downtown Buffalo Hampton Inn. It's the type of service you expect, long for,  and may even get in far more upscale hotels.

Everyone, but everyone, was friendly and courteous. (Midwest nice, so that was no big surprise.)

But it wasn't just the friendliness (which, by the way, still had an element of East Coast reserve that I was thankful for. I hate the "in your face" stuff.)  Nor was it the cookies in the afternoon. Nor the fact that they gave you both USA Today and the local paper, which is so much more interesting a read. Nor was it the free Internet access - I really hate to pay for Internet access. (Minor quibble: it was ethernet, not wireless. But the price was right.)

While I was in Buffalo, I had to make a copy of my driver's license and fax it off. (This was a banking thing.) I asked whether and where there was a business service center, and they just took care of it for me at no charge.

I asked if I could purchase a copy of the Buffalo Spree Magazine that was in the room with one of those "please leave this for the next guest" labels on it. The fellow at the desk - was his name Colin? I really should have made a note of it - not only called housekeeping to see if they had any extra copies, but he went and got it for me while I waited.  And gave it to me free of charge.

Van to the airport? Free, baby - and manned by a very pleasant young fellow named Robert who did not for one second drive like a jerk.

But the trip to the airport just the icing on the cake.

What was so great about the service was the above and beyond steps: the copying, the faxing, the copy of Spree.

If the desk had directed me to a local business center - or charged me for their services - I would have been fine with that. If they'd told me that they didn't have a copy of Spree to spare, that would have been just fine - or told me I'd have to chase it down myself.

Anyway, kudos to the Hampton Inn for the extremely nice and professional folks they have working for them.

What does this tell us?

  • You need to cover your service basics.
  • It always helps if you throw in some unexpected delighters.

What's this done for them?

I will definitely stay there next time I'm in Buffalo.

I will definitely consider Hampton Inns on other trips. (I've never stayed in one before.)

Citizen Marketer that I am, I will tell all my friends about it.

There. You've been told.

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