One of the fun things about thinking and acting like Mr. Shmooze is that once you become sensitive to the next levels of positive attitude, great communication and outstanding service, you can find it in so many interesting situations.
I was recently up in Park City, Utah for a workshop. The venue was a beautiful and popular hotel. In fact, it was so popular, there was nowhere to park outside. So I drove down into the garage and finally found a parking space. I noticed some valet parking signs but they were not very clear, so when I got up to the lobby I decided to double check just to be sure I would not get towed.
There were two people . . . a young man and a more experienced looking woman . . . behind the front desk. The young man looked up so I engaged with him and told him my story. He immediately tensed up, starting talking very quickly and nervously, and told me I needed to go back down and move my car because I had parked in a reserved zone . . . yada, yada, yada. He was talking so fast I could not get a word in from my side.
I then looked over at the woman who was subtly shaking her head. She smiled at me and said, “What kind of car is it?” I told her. She reached in the drawer, grabbed a valet ticket, tore it in half, gave me my stub and said, “Don’t worry about it . . . we will tell the valet people. Keep your keys and retrieve it whenever you are ready. Enjoy your stay with us.”
Wow! I have seen a lot of good service/bad service situations but never one so black and white . . . and right next to each other. Obviously, the young man was inexperienced, so hopefully by working next to a seasoned pro, some of her natural wisdom and service etiquette will rub off.
How important was her gesture? Had she not overruled, I would have left the hotel thinking about the first disrespectful lecture and the story I would be telling my friends going forward would have been quite negative. My impression of the hotel would have been one of arrogance and rudeness, as opposed to what I saw next, the kind of respect and “can do” attitude you would expect from a fine hotel.
I wonder if the people in charge appreciate how profoundly important it is to have a Ms. Shmooze at the front desk?
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