By Jonathan Oleisky
In this era of immediate customer satisfaction, how many times have you been sent a survey after a hotel stay or event, completed it and never heard anything back?
In my case just the opposite happened. I recently returned from a two night stay at the Sheraton Boston Hotel where our firm exhibited at the National Association of Independent Schools annual conference. As part of our business development strategy we held an intimate cocktail reception for twenty Heads of Schools at the hotel. The Sheraton Boston is a large convention hotel, with two soaring towers, a warm and impressive lobby and the closest hotel to the Hynes Convention Center.
The hotel’s catering department worked with us in advance of the reception to ensure that all of our needs were met. They did a very good job and made several suggestions to enhance our event. The hotel provided a bartender serving an assortment of wine and soda and an attendant serving three types of passed hors d’oeuvres. The food was excellent (I especially savored the rolled smoked salmon with cream cheese on toast points in case you were wondering), the room was set up properly and everything was perfect (or so we thought).
As with every event it’s the little things that matter. In our case the bartender did not have the soda we had pre-ordered. We told the bartender and a manager appeared almost instantly, looked at the order form, noted that we had ordered it and within a matter of minutes our soda appeared. By this time the guests started arriving and everyone was enjoying themselves. Nearly 14 minutes into our reception I realized that the passed hors d’oeuvres had not yet arrived. I quickly mentioned this to the bartender and a few minutes later our server arrived.
We were being picky? Not at all. We needed and wanted our guests to feel appreciated and well taken care of during our reception. The good news is everyone had a wonderful time, we had very positive conversations with several Heads of School and the evening was a success.
Over the weekend I received a generic customer satisfaction survey from the hotel and a call to action from the General Manager asking for any specific concerns to be emailed to her. Monday morning I sent a brief email to the GM sharing the minor logistical challenges that we encountered. I really did not expect a response. Much to my surprise I had a voice mail from the GM the next day. We had a very good conversation and she was genuinely interested in my feedback. Not only did she apologize, but she also wanted to hear about our success at the conference and what we thought of Boston. After the call she followed up with a brief email.
Angela Vento, the GM at the Sheraton Boston Hotel did a fine job of customer service follow up. Well done Angela!
Jonathan Oleisky is President of Kalix Communications