My husband and I went on a mini-vacation consisting of one night in a fancy hotel in the heart of Manhattan. I heard a lecture a while back from a big Rabbi who said that every married couple should go away overnight, without their children, at least once a year. So, following this sage advice, we left our kids with trusted adults and off we went.
My husband had done some research and booked us in a fancy 5 star hotel in the heart of Times Square for a great price, of course. We arrived at the Michaelangelo Hotel, decorated in fine Italian style marble and paintings, true to its name. After checking in and going up to our room, we opened the door to find ourselves in a lavish and huge 1 bedroom marble suite, complete with sitting room, desks, walk in closet/ bathroom and king size beds. We could have easily slept our whole family in this suite. My first thought was that my husband made a mistake. Maybe he booked the $2,000 room instead of a $200 one? He assured me that he hadn’t made a mistake, maybe the hotel just upgraded us? Imagine, a free upgrade in the heart of New York city…it didn’t seem possible.
When we made our way back downstairs I stopped by the reception desk, just to make sure we weren’t going to be billed an extra $1800 for our room. As I approached the desk, the receptionist said, “Mr. & Mrs. Raff, how can I help you?” Impressed and beginning to really feel like a VIP guest, I told her, “wow, you remember our names?” to which she replied “I should remember your names you have the best room in the entire house”. “Yes”, I said, “how did that happen?” to which she replied, “Oh, well its our hotel policy to randomly pick a customer to upgrade on a regular basis and you were the lucky couple for tonight”. Now, that’s customer satisfaction. Imagine how special and happy we felt. Not only did I feel like Hashem was smiling down on our little vacation away from the kids, thusly alleviating me of all my guilt for leaving them, but I knew that this story would also give me the material for a great lesson about the elusive yet important concept of ‘customer satisfaction’.
Most people who run their own businesses are often unsure about the best way to satisfy customers. The best way to satisfy a customer, ensure a repeat business from that customer and positive reputation (remember, with social media and blogging today the word about your business can spread fast) is by fulfilling the concept of “Underpromising and Overdelivering”. I expected a fancy hotel room. I got a fancy hotel suite. As a result of lowered expectations and the hotel delivery of superior service, my satisfaction and happiness with the hotel was over the moon. So much so that I’m writing an article bragging to thousands of readers about how wonderful the Michaelangelo Hotel is. Had the hotel done the opposite, “Overpromised and Underdelivered” where I expected a fancy suite and gotten a mere room, I would have been very dissatisfied and probably would have not only never returned but would have warned others never to visit there as well. So the hotel, in its wisdom, has a policy that whenever the best suite in the house is empty, they randomly give it to a customer for the night. Rather then leave the suite empty, the small cost involved in cleaning it again is clearly worth it for them since its such a valuable opportunity to fulfill the best customer satisfaction adage of all time, “Underpromise & Overdeliver”.
By randomly upgrading patrons, the hotel turns an empty suite into a thousand dollar marketing opportunity to create a company culture and atmosphere that is focused on customer satisfaction. As a business coach, I always advise my clients that in all that they do, from their mental checklist of values to fulfill, make sure that their business actions lead to ‘underpromising and overdelivering’ to ensure that they have satisfied customers. And if you’re not convinced that its important to your business’ success to satisfy customers, think about how much less it costs to retain an existing customer compared to the cost of going out and finding new ones…..