Monday, October 7, 2013

Be a Customer Service Superhero

When I was in Atlanta this past August, I was lucky enough to meet Leotis Watson, the superstar Concierge at the Emory Conference Centre Hotel.

Leotis had a desk in the lobby, but it was a rare moment when you would find him sitting at the desk… instead he was constantly moving throughout the area, engaging with hotel patrons, dazzling them with his friendly smile…..making their day a little brighter.

What struck me about Mr. Watson is that he remembered my name from the first time we met (and we all know that I am not that memorable) and used my name during each of my many comings and going through the lobby.

The day I checked out of the hotel, I had an opportunity to chat with Leotis and told him how impressed I was with his superior customer service skills. His response was (I am paraphrasing….his response was much more eloquent), “Everyone is good at something. Everyone has something with which they excel. I am good at customer service, it is what I was meant to do”.

“The key to great customer service is to always be humble” said Leotis. And with that, he spied another patron entering the hotel with an armful of bags and dashed off to help.

Reminded me of a superhero….dressed impeccably in khaki’s, a starched button down shirt and a knitted vest – I am sure the cape was there……it was invisible.

Returning home I went online to Trip Advisor to see if anyone else was talking about this amazing superhero concierge. Of course they were! Comments like, “Mr. Watson at the Concierge greets you with the warmth and fervor and amazing zest for life which is so infectious” and “The Concierge was among the very best I’ve experienced in my travels ……made sure if I was standing in the lobby (and everyone else too) that I/we were being taken care of and didn’t need anything (he always called me by name)”.

Leotis Watson provided me with an experience during my stay at the Emory Conference Centre Hotel. He made me feel like he appreciated my business…..a feeling that I get very rarely these days.

Can anyone be a customer service superhero? Probably not……but many can improve their customer service by modeling Leotis’ behavior.

Here are some of them:
  • Be a MacGyver!: Remember how each week Richard Dean Anderson would get out of tense situations using only a piece of duct tape, a toothpick and a swiss army knife? You can also become a Customer Service MacGyver. A friend experienced such a situation recently, “I was silly enough to let my car run out of gas, and the nearest station didn’t have fuel cans. The lady there was so nice she called her daughter to bring one from their home for me”.  No duct tape required…..simply the ability to think outside the box.
  • Remember my name: The first thing we all receive when we are born is our name. When someone remembers our name and uses it properly, it speaks volumes. 
  • Eat a small piece of humble pie: Leotis said it! The key to providing great customer service is being humble. The customer is not there to serve you….you are there to serve the customer and the act of doing so should be  a courteous, respectful, unpretentious exchange. 
(blog post was also published in October 7 edition of the Daily News - "Be a Superhero")



Amy Terry said...

Thanks for this post. I really needed something of this sort.

april said...

There’s a guy I met similar to Mr Watson who has to be the best event planner nyc. I had a corporate event to do and he could somehow predict what we wanted before we even told him.

Drew Watts said...

That’s great! If people like these can be found in party venues, then this will be quite helpful to the hosts. We had celebrated our anniversary last year but the lousy customer service spoiled the entire fun. Could you suggest some Venues in San Francisco with great customer service?