By Christine Hollinden

Even though we have shifted to a service-based economy, service is a term that is often said, but few actually do well.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at a conference in Las Vegas and stayed at the Aria – a relatively new property. I arrived a day early to enjoy the pool and restaurant scene. Since I was checking in early morning, my room was not ready. (No problem, a cabana at the pool was waiting.) The first indication that this hotel offered a different experience was when the front desk clerk asked how I’d prefer to be notified when my room was ready (call, text, or email). I opted for a text message. I must admit, I really didn’t expect the text messaging to work, but it did – as promised.

I went back to the front desk to receive my room number and key. The front desk person was friendly and professional. I went up to the 24th floor as directed only to find that the room number written on my key folio did not exist. I found an employee on that floor and was directed to the other tower. The security person at the guest elevator check point informed me that the room number was not in that tower either. But, she offered her assistance and escorted me to another desk where the error on the room number was quickly corrected.

Finally arriving at my assigned room, I called for my luggage. When the bellman arrived, he asked how my visit had been thus far. I laughed as I recalled to him the wild goose chase regarding the incorrect room number. This young man asked if I had a moment or two because he wanted to alert a manager to my experience. He said he knew management would want to know and he wanted to ask them do something nice for me. Long story short, I ended up with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries being delivered to my room, as well as a $100 hotel credit.
I tell this story, not because of what I received, but because of the level of service delivered by this hotel with more than 4400 rooms – all because a young bellman took the time to do something a little extra. For years, I’ve professed that taking service from ordinary to extraordinary consists of small acts or actions . . . just a little extra something that will change the experience for your client or customer. And, that little something extra doesn’t have to be expensive.

It’s relatively easy to deliver outstanding service when you have a small organization, but when the organization is large . . . that’s another story. It only took the bellman 3-4 minutes longer to turn my experience at the Aria from ordinary to extraordinary – to change my experience enough to share it. Yet, few organizations can accomplish what seems like such a small, commonsense action.

What can you do today to make your client’s experience with your firm memorable? How about picking up the phone right now, calling an average client to just say thanks for the business. Or, jot a quick note of thanks to someone you’ve taken for granted. Reexamine all client touchpoints and think of one small action you can take to make that encounter something special. If the Aria can do it, so can you.