Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Power of '10'

Generally, we arrive at our destinations tired, a little out of sorts, looking forward to getting into that hotel room, catching our breath and relaxing. I am no exception. Last week when I arrived in Portland for the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference all I wanted to do was get into my room, take my shoes off and kick back for a while. Traveling can be stressful!

Arriving at the airport in Portland, I was a little confused at which MAX line ticket I required. A very nice guy assisted me with my purchase and then said, “I am driving the train you are on today Miss…I will make sure you get on the right one”. I began to relax.

Hopping on the train, I grab a seat and look at the map on the wall. Of course, the MAX driver is unable to assist me now (he has to drive the train), but the gal sitting next to me pointed out which stop was mine. Knowing this, I now can enjoy the ride. I relaxed a little more.

Disembarking at my stop, I am momentarily disoriented. I swing around 360 degrees trying to determine the proximity of the hotel to my location. I look up, and see the Doubletree logo illuminated….I am less than a city block away. My posture immediately softens, I laugh at myself a little (such a worry-wart I am), and I begin to make my way to my conference hotel.

Whoosh! The doors to the Doubletree Hotel Portland open and I immediately spy the registration desk. I am greeted by not one, but three employees as I make my way to the registration desk. “Welcome”, and “Hello”, they say to me and one offers to assist me with my luggage.

Three minutes later, and after the registration clerk properly pronounced my last name (“I am Polish as well” she explains), I am provided directions to my room, handed a warm cookie and sent on my way. Anxiety free……totally relaxed.

What is wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing. For the first time, I am arriving at my destination having experienced a trouble free, anxiety free, travel and check in process.

You would think that this story ends here….but of course, it doesn’t. I had begun to notice that the employees at the Doubletree Hotel Portland all wore pins on their uniforms. These pins, while some in different colours, all said the same thing. They simply said, ‘10’.

Approaching Steve Faulstick, AGM Doubletree Portland, I said, “I love your ‘10’ pin! How can I get one?” Smiling, he immediately removed it from his lapel and replied, “take mine”. Now…although I am not one of those people who bedazzle themselves with pins (my husband will disagree, I kinda do), I was actually curious as to the purpose of the pin. I had a good idea that it had something to do with customer service (see the pic of Steve’s pin), but I wanted to know the story around it.

Here is what he told me:

What is the significance of the pin?: It is our pledge to delivering a ‘10’ experience for our guests.

They certainly delivered on that pledge! Warm cookies and proper pronunciation of my name at check in set the tone for service. I know it sounds simple, but my name gets butchered so often that it is a pleasant surprise when said correctly.

Does everyone wear the pin? It is part of the uniform. We are consistent throughout and everyone wears them, although different colours are available.

I did notice that some wore black pins, others wore hot pink. Steve’s pin was a little different (see pic)

When did the pin program begin? About 8 years ago with Doubletree

What kind of results have you seen since the program began? It has provided three great things for us: 1) A ‘badge’ of personal commitment by our team members. 2) A ‘sign’ of our commitment for our guests to see. 3) A great ‘engagement’ tool. Customers ask all of us daily what it is for, and gives us a good chance to ensure their experience has been a 10, and if not, we can turn things around for them!

You notice that Steve used the words “team members” – they are not employees, they are part of a team. The pins are a constant reminder to the team members of their commitment to providing a great experience.

Is the pin specific to this hotel or part of a corporate program? It’s available to all Doubletree Hotels.

Steve also thanked me for my interest and repeated that he “hoped my experience at the hotel is a ‘10’ so far!” which didn’t surprise me. Steve’s commitment to excellent customer service, and experience is evident in the way that he personally responds to online concerns regarding the hotel. For example: Steve reviews the TripAdvisor comments for the hotel, and personally responds to individual concerns. Amazing! Who wouldn’t want to stay at a hotel like this where your concerns are taken so seriously?

Thank you Steve Faulstick and the great Doubletree Portland staff who made my stay so comfortable. Thank you to the MAX driver who eased my anxiety and assisted me with the train. Thank you Portland…you are a ‘10’!



Shawna McKinley said...

Yay Doubletree PDX. It's the only place I stay where I feel like I'm at home, away from home. Other than my Mum's house, maybe :)

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

Yes, you said it so succinctly.... At Doubletree PDX you are made to feel at home, away from home.


Jody urquhart said...

I am a Double Tree Fan too but i have never managed to get a pin.
I guess i never asked. I was drawn to your post when you talked about being exhausted after travelling, and i have been feeling this way alot lately. My travels have left me home with a cold today

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

Jody: Oh, I hope you feel better soon. When we travel we tend to be exposed to sooooo many germs, it is not surprising that we get sick.

I admit, I probably put poor Steve on the spot when I asked for the pin LOL.


Jenise Fryatt said...

You said you were going to get a pin and you did. You said you were going to write a blog post - and you wrote one that ROCKS!! I will be sharing this. Customer service can make or break an experience. This is inspiring. :)

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

Thanks Jenise - You are so right, customer service CAN make or break an experience. I was super impressed with the staff at the Doubletree, in fact, I was impressed with the whole Portland experience. From the MAX driver, to the gal who assisted me with directions, I was treated exceptionally well.