Home Away from Home: A Refreshing Customer Experience

About 10 years ago, I used to work for a technology company that would implement projects around the country. As the head of marketing and eventually the business head, I would travel a lot to the places where our projects were being executed.

One of the cities that I would frequent was Bengaluru. A decade ago, Bengaluru was the perfect city. It had wonderful weather, large open spaces, easy moving traffic, large professional immigrant population and good business opportunities. I loved the city then unlike today when the crawling traffic and long local commute hours have taken away its charm.

Those days, work demanded that I frequently spend a fortnight in Bengaluru. When this routine began and looked like continuing for some months, I wanted to quickly find a hotel that I could regularly stay in during my visits.

During one of my initial visits, I was to meet a senior government official. While waiting for him to return from a field visit, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was also waiting to see him. It turned out that this gentleman also travelled frequently to Bengaluru on business. When I shared my intent to search for a hotel he suggested I try the one he stayed in every time he visited the city.

I called the hotel a few days before my next visit and booked myself. When I reached the hotel I was pleased – nice lobby, smiling staff, paperless check in on a tablet (they greeted me by my name and knew I had been referred by the gentleman who had recommended the hotel to me), nice room with a clean bathroom and toiletries. In the morning I called the reception and asked them if they could change my newspaper from the Deccan Chronicle to The Times of India. They arranged for it from the next morning.

Since I had to commute within the city during my stays, I needed a vehicle. The hotel unfortunately didn’t provide the service. I had missed checking on this and had to hire a car through some friends. On my last day in the city, I returned to the hotel after a business dinner and told the receptionist that I would leave at 4.30am the next morning and requested him to keep the bill ready as I had a flight to catch. I received a wakeup call at 3.30am the next morning as requested. When I reached the reception to check out, the receptionist requested me to fill in my feedback on a tablet while he printed my invoice and transacted my payment. I wrote satisfactory & happy comments but mentioned that I missed the car hire service. As I was about to leave, the receptionist handed me a small bag saying he had got a sandwich and juice packed for my breakfast. This was completely unexpected. I was delighted!

I returned to Bengaluru and to the hotel the following month and was greeted with the same cheerfulness as last time. They had already placed a copy of The Times of India for me in the room. A few minutes later, I got a call from the receptionist. She said based on feedback received from customers like me, they had started a car hire service and could make available a vehicle for my city commute. I was thrilled.

It’s the small things that I got at the hotel, the newspaper of my choice, an unexpected packed breakfast in the early morning and the launch of the car hire service based on my feedback that made me stay at the same hotel every time I went back to Bengaluru on business for many years. Over time during casual conversations with the staff, I understood that the hotel management read customer feedback every week and kept making small changes to suit their regular guests and ensure customer satisfaction. It amazed me how their attention to small things to improve customer service made me go back every time and over the years I have referred the hotel to many associates and friends.

- Sooraj K

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