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You Can't Overdo Customer Service

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I recently had an experience with a business that went way beyond excellent customer service and they not only made a customer for life, they made me a torchbearer for their success. As you read this, imagine what your company would be like if it offered this level of service.

I was in Los Angeles for a business trip and met with a client and a consultant at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. My first impressions of the hotel were good but not great. The building was beautiful, but the parking was expensive in an area where it shouldn't have been.

My client and I found a nice table in the lobby where we could comfortably wait for the consultant. The consultant called to let us know she would be about an hour late so we decided to get a bite to eat. We asked and found out that the restaurant was closed but a cocktail waitress told us she might be able to do a "little something" for us. To our delightful surprise she returned in a few minutes with a breakfast that was everything we imagined and more. Linen napkins, fresh fruit, fresh squeezed orange juice, toasted bagels, a cheese plate and more. And this with the kitchen closed.

Our meeting ran until lunch so we decided to give the restaurant a chance. As we approached the hostess, she was talking on the phone but she quickly acknowledged us turned and nodded to someone and a waiter instantly appeared to whisk us to a beautiful outside table. The waiter was courteous and when he asked us for water he asked if my client would like some lemon in her water and then turned to me and asked if I would perhaps like some lime. I was flabbergasted. He was right. I preferred lime. But how did he know?

Later the waiter brought out our soups while my client was in the restroom. He returned a couple of minutes later to check on us and saw she was gone. He whisked her soup away and returned a few moments after she did with a fresh bowl of hot soup. He knew the cool ocean air would have made it cold. Everything the waiter did was above what I've come to expect as excellent service. He got the biggest tip I'd ever left for a meal.

We came back the next day for another meeting and got the great service all over again, this time from other employees. I asked the bartender if they could make me a real fruit smoothie. He said he only had smoothie mix at the bar, but he'd see what he could do.

Moments later, he appeared at my table with a real fruit smoothie. The restaurant was closed but somehow he'd managed to get it for me. And it was great. Another big tip.

When we were about to leave, we stopped by the Concierge's desk to find out if there were any local art galleries he could recommend. He knew from what we told him that we weren't guests at the hotel, but still went on the internet, asked other employees and worked until he'd found some nice recommendations for us.

And that brings us to that overpriced parking. When I took my ticket to the valet, I found out that with the lunch validation, my parking was almost free. As I stood waiting for my car another valet came up and asked if I'd been helped. I said yes, but he still went and made sure my car was coming. It was cold outside and he just wanted to make sure. My car quickly came and two valets made sure both doors were opened and closed for me and my client.

As we drove away, I was awed by the fact that every employee that I had come in contact with at The Loews for the past two days had given me better service than I expected and better than I'd ever had. We realized that we had happily given the largest tips we'd ever given to each of the employees that helped us. Not only had they earned their tips, but they earned their company two torchbearers for their customer service training program. From now on, when I'm in Los Angeles, you can join me at The Loews.

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