Free-Style Customer Service
By Jeff Pinyot
Recently my wife and I returned home from a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. As I was returning home, I was reflecting back on some phone calls I had made ahead of our adventure and at the remarkable impact total strangers actually had on the resulting quality of our travel experience.
The resort where we stayed had offered a discounted rate for a portion of our stay. After already having made our reservations, my wife and I decided to extend our stay for three more nights for more time away. Upon calling reservations to make the change, I was given a definitive answer that under no circumstances could I extend my stay an extra three nights at the lower rate. I reminded that person that it had been fine by them for the lower rate for six nights, but now it wouldn’t suffice for three more…wouldn’t nine nights only extend the discount?
I thanked them, hung up and hit redial. When the phone was answered, I simply restated my need as a challenge (to a new voice). I said, “Hi, my name is Jeff Pinyot and I am staying six nights at your resort at this rate, I need to add three more nights to my stay at the same rate, one of your colleagues was unable to approve that, I bet you can get it done for me.” She said, “Just a minute Mr. Pinyot, can you hold for a moment?” I agreed and 30 seconds later, she came on approving the extension at the lower rate. We chose to stay at that resort for our extra days instead of moving because of this person. The first person would have lost the sale. The resort was 70% full when we were there. They nearly walked away from filling empty rooms.
Also on the same trip, I had reserved a midsize vehicle for the duration of our stay. I contacted the agent to extend my rent agreement and they chose to increase the cost because of the change. I said, “Are you serious, I am now renting for 10 days instead of 7 and my price goes up?” She said yes. I said, “Thank you”. I then made a couple of phone calls looking to switch to a Jeep Wrangler.
I was told you had to make those arrangements months ahead for a Jeep and we were leaving the following day. I finally found someone who seemed to want to help me. After saying no, she had nothing, I challenged her to look at her reservations and see if she could find any way to rearrange a few to find my window of 10 days. She said she would call back. To my surprise, she did call me back, not only did she get me a red Jeep
Wrangler, she gave me a 15% discount because of the length of the contract. I quickly called the first place back and canceled my original reservation. When I met this Can-Do person on the island when picking up the Jeep, I thanked her and gave her a small present.
Are your employees following a script, saying no because it is easier that way…or are they Free-Styling like these two awesome employees? Do you have empty parking places because of empty minds simply saying no?
Not only did these two wonderful women make our visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands special, we will be going back, and likely staying at the same place and renting a car from the same rental agency. I know that they will still be in business.
Repeat business because of Free-Style customer service!
Jeff Pinyot is President of ECO Parking Lights. Feel free to contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org