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A few years ago, I checked out of the Marriot hotel in Kuala Lumpur and sat in the taxi on an hour’s journey to go to the airport to catch a Singapore Airlines flight back to India.

Once I crossed the security check at KL airport I realised that I had left my mobile phone in the taxi. One can realise the handicap for a CEO to be without a mobile for the next 12 hours, moreover outside your country. I didn’t have the number of the taxi driver so I called up the Marriot reception and explained my problem. I did mention that the mobile was left in the car as I remembered speaking to somebody during my journey.

With two hours to spare at the airport, I started reading a book and finally boarded the flight having lost all faith in getting my mobile phone again and wished that the Marriot receptionist had little more empathy towards its customer.

To my surprise, suddenly I heard my name being announced in the aircraft. When I went to the front of the cabin, a Customer Service Officer of Singapore Airlines met me and handed over my mobile phone. This was a true moment of delight – in fact a magical moment. Once I reached Mumbai I immediately contacted the Marriot hotel to understand  how they managed to deliver the mobile and the story goes as follows:

The receptionist called up the taxi agency and found out about the taxi by describing the time of my departure and contacted the cab driver who found the mobile in the car. The cab driver agreed to drive back and return the phone. As she assumed that I would have crossed the security, she called up the customer service desk in Singapore Airlines, who agreed to meet the driver outside and collect the mobile and that’s how the mobile was delivered to me. I tried to show my gratitude by offering to pay the extra fare to the driver for returning my phone, but he gracefully declined. My thank you was humbly accepted saying, “It’s our duty”.

This incident left a mark on me because excellence in customer service gets achieved only when somebody in the service industry can empathise with the customer and goes out of his/her way to ensure that the problem is resolved and the customer is satisfied. In my experience, the Marriot receptionist went beyond her call of duty to ensure that the mobile was delivered in time before the flight departure. She could not have completed the task without the team effort of the driver and the airport staff. The key word is COMMITMENT and EMPATHY.

In this experience of customer service excellence, all the three individuals have coordinated and delivered great customer service. A few days later, I visited the website of Singapore Airlines and looked at the organisation values and was impressed with the way they have crafted their values.

“Customer First: Our customers are foremost in our minds all the time. We go the extra mile to exceed their expectations.” 

I must say they went many extra miles to serve me. I was intrigued, so I went into Marriot’s core values and was impressed to see their focus on people.

“We Put People First: We take care of associates and they will take care of customers.” 

 My belief is that every service organisation is built on its values and the way the management and the organisation believes and practices these values. I was unable to access the Taxi companies’ site but I believe the individual driver should be saluted for his efforts.

I am sure if all of us resolve to build our retail business around people and customers, we will do wonders, and growing our businesses will never be a challenge.

This is only a glimpse of the various instances of great customer service delivered by front- end associates. With an aim to applaud & recognise service excellence in retail at a global level, TRRAIN & MAPIC have partnered to introduce the newest award category- “Customer Service Excellence”, in partnership with TRRAIN. The MAPIC Awards will be held in Cannes between 15th– 17th November, 2017.

Watch my video below to understand the criteria for applying. I encourage retailers in India & across the globe to select their best customer service stories and showcase their brand at a global level.

Click here to apply!


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About Author

B.S. Nagesh

B.S. Nagesh is TRRAIN Founder and a MAPIC Awards 2017 jury member.

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