Customer service affirms faith in caring companies
Prior to attending the LendIt conference in San Francisco last week, I enjoyed four days of R&R in the city. My stay at the Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf proved delightful, and let me know that there are still companies out there that know how to do it right.
Front-desk specialist Luz Ponce gets a special shout-out for service above and beyond. She exemplifies the best in customer care, helping make our stay stress-free. In addition, I found the property itself clean and well-maintained, and its workforce responsive and respectful—all too scarce in hospitality today. I didn’t have one complaint during the five-night stay, a first ever for me in a hotel. (I am nitpicky about rooms being up to snuff, with everything working properly; and, of course, I expect cleanliness.)
Bottom line, I plan to stay there when visiting the city. Once you find a great hotel with exemplary customer service, hang on to it!
As is typical, the “little things” sealed the deal. A room safe that worked perfectly. Ample outlets for a variety of devices. A beautiful shower. And, of course, a fridge and microwave.
Hotel GM Michael Koupolis made a point of saying he had a good team. That proved to be more than an empty promise. It was nice to see Hyatt, a major corporate entity, supporting management of a property as though it was a quaint, customer-dedicated hotel in a small town.
What are the takeaways from this experience?
- Follow through on claims of customer service excellence with actions that show sincere dedication to taking care of people. That sincerity shone through brightly, in contrast to the fake “have a nice day” utterances so common in commerce today.
- Manage and maintain the property with pride and attention to detail. I’ve always advocated that housekeeping be the eyes and ears for this process. I don’t get the sense that was the case during my stay, but somebody was obviously overseeing the effort.
- Respect was front and center. We asked for extra pillows. A few minutes later, we got a call telling us that the person was at our door but didn’t want to knock because we had the privacy sign up. This extra touch obviously etched itself into my brain.
- The property restaurant was reasonably-priced, prompt, got the order right, and prepared good food. How often do you see all four attributes together in a hotel eatery these days?
- The fitness center was clean, with well-maintained and fully operational machines. Again, hotel fitness clubs can be less than pristine and equipment performance can be hit-and-miss.
All these takeaways should be a standard part of a hotel stay. Sadly, today they’re too often the exception. The good news is that as hotels such as Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf raise the bar—reflected in reviews and raving fans—competing properties will be forced to do the same, or see plummeting profits. Slowly but surely we’re reversing a long period of mediocrity and swinging the pendulum back toward excellence.
Kudos to Luz Ponce, Michael Koupolis and the rest of the staff of the Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf!
Mark Lusky is a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience.