Are you sure you know what you’re communicating?

Denver.  United Airlines.  Snow.  Wind.  5 hours of delays.

Finally get loaded on the plane.  Just about fall asleep.  The flight attendant comes on the PA to tell us that because of all the delays, our pilots are now declared illegal.  The flight (it’s now 11:30 pm) is canceled.

Oh yeah — we can’t retrieve our luggage.

Did I mention I have my 13-year old daughter with me?  Fun.

We scramble down to the hotel display and start dialing.  We’re tired. We’re frustrated.  We’re going to miss meetings, school and who knows what else.  Oh yeah, and we have no clean clothes. 

Cue Norma.  She answered the Embassy Suites phone and reassures me, "don’t worry, we’ve got a room and we’ll get you all set up."  20 minutes later, the van shows up.  Norma.  She had bottles of water for us and an offer to drive through a fast food joint if we’re hungry.

God bless Norma.  She dug up toothbrushes, deodorant and practically tucked us in.  She turned an incredibly frustrating experience into an actually pleasant one.  Simply by caring.

Which is why, at 2 am, I found myself on the Embassy Suites website, trying to figure out how to let the powers that be know what a gem they had in Norma.  I found the "recent stay comments" section.

Suites When I clicked on the drop down menu, this is what I saw.

You know what that says loud and clear to me?  We expect our employees to trigger complaints.  If I worked there,  I wouldn’t hold out much hope to hear good things about my performance.  I had to scroll down several more options before I could find a complimentary category to attach my comments to.

Yes, I am sure that many more people take the time to complain than they do to compliment.  But, what impact would it have if the drop down menu started with all the compliments and I had to scroll through them to get to the complaints?

It’s how we handle the details, the little things, the "that doesn’t really matter" elements that speaks loud and clear to our customers, prospects and employees.

How are you doing on that?

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