One of my recurring themes is that consistency is king in the world of customer experience it is the ability to connect experiences that really makes you stand out.
So I was staying with the family in the Hotel Bonsol in Ilyetas just outside Palma in Majorca – an amazing hotel family run, quite large and spread over three levels reaching from the top of some cliffs to the sea via tunnels through the rock.
First night at dinner the owner Martin (a gentleman of more advanced years who has clearly been in charge for a long time) introduced himself to us and made himself available if we had any issues call his private number,he also described his philosophy on managing staff – he recognised that sometimes he needed to get tough with individuals inside what on the surface would appear to be a happy set of employees – he said ‘most of the time I am like honey but occasionally a teaspoon of vinegar is needed where an individual lets down the team’ an interesting analogy.
He was then visible throughout our stay taking breakfast with guests and dinner in the dining room and generally being around the Hotel during the day.
So how did it play out in experience terms,,,first the bad,,,let’s get it out of the way,,,half-way through the stay the air conditioning unit began to drip in the middle of the night – ever been there? it is torture waiting for the next drip, the towel on the floor soon gets wet so then you think turn off the air con and suffer but the accumulated water means it carries on dripping anyway arghhh!! So we call Reception and an engineer arrives, he starts by switching it off, we say in awful Spanish we have tried that and leave him to it, sure enough that night all was well clearly he had done his job…or so we thought. Next night it begins again so we call again and again the engineer arrives but the next night more dripping. Taking matters into our own hands a middle of the night investigation of the air con hatch (by lifting it) reveals that the engineer ‘fix’ was to put a small towel in the roof space that was now soaking and dripping!!! So we put a fresh towel in and tell Reception again and in more detail what is happening…no response so we ended up giving up and going through a nightly ritual of putting a towel in the roof space. That was annoying and before you ask no I didn’t call Martin you somehow feel you are dumping someone in it if you do that which is an interesting psychology – I wonder how many calls he actually gets and in their absence does he feel everything is ok??
Now the good – it was my birthday on the next to last night and as we entered the Restaurant my wife said she had not organised anything like a cake as she knows I get a little embarrassed when fuss is made. However the Maitre D immediately showed us to a table complete with flowers and personalised dinner menus for my family. Then Martin came over and offered his congratulations closely followed by his son – one of the Managers at the Hotel – then the champagne on the house and finally the birthday cake. When I asked why they did this the son said it was at his mothers insistence that guests are made to feel special! This was a wow moment for all of us.
Let’s just take a moment to look at how it was achieved – they took copies of passports on arrival and instead of just using it for administrative purposes they looked at the piece of data called date of birth and established that mine was going to happen whilst at the Hotel; second piece of data was my name which was used to personalise the menus; and finally my picture was the third piece of data given to the Maitre D so I could be spotted and led to my table on arrival in a busy restaurant.
Would we go back, we all agreed we would the quirky nature of the Hotel the general warmth of the staff and owners and an amazing setting make it a memorable place and if you recall customer experience is about creating positive memories – just sort out the engineering team maybe a “teaspoon of vinegar” is needed!!