OK, so last weekend (Labor Day weekend, 2013) we stayed at the Marriott in Alpharetta, GA. Was our stay perfect? No. But, when necessary they did a good job of “service recovery.” Here are a few details:
• Upon first use of the toilet in our room we discovered it was plugged up, and a flood ensued. I managed to turn the valve off to stem the tide, and within 6-8 minutes a maintenance person arrived to fix the problem and mop up the mess. Problem solved.
• After 3-4 uses it was obvious that the sink was draining very slowly. Within about 15-20 minutes of calling, someone arrived to fix that problem, as well.
• After the first night of poor quality sleep, due to three overly stuffed and very hard pillows, and three very soft and under filled feather pillows, we explained the problem to the front desk and were offered foam filled pillows that made our second night much more comfortable. Order the foam pillows immediately upon check in.
• The Wi-fi worked flawlessly in our room and in the lobby, and all other room amenities were up to the Marriott standard.
• They had roped off a large part of the parking lot for some reason so competition for parking spaces was intense. This situation only eased late Sunday night when enough people had checked out. I don’t think they have enough space to create enough parking when they’re fully booked, so be forewarned.
We observed an interesting incident while having the Sunday buffet breakfast. One person had cleared dishes off a nearby table and a small packet of jam fell on the floor in front of the buffet line, unnoticed. It sat there as another employee (name withheld to protect the guilty) came by, eyed the packet, and then made a very conscious decision that it was “below her pay grade” to bend over and pick it up. She passed by again in 30-45 seconds, and again made the same decision.
Then along came Raphael, pushing a huge cart full of clean dishes. He spied the packet, paused with his heavy load, walked over and picked it up and tossed it in a nearby wastebasket, then went on with his “real” job. This guy seems to "get it."
Just then some guy in a nice suit came by wearing a Marriott nametag, so I motioned him over and inquired if he were somehow connected to the restaurant. Turns out he was the Director of Operations for the whole hotel, Mark Van Wagenen. I related the story of the errant jam packet, and he said he would make a point of telling that story in the staff de-briefing at the end of the shift. Sort of a real-world “teachable moment.”
To the young lady who refused to pick up the jam packet, you have much to learn from Raphael.
The next morning I was in the lobby and along came Mark V. He offered to get me a cup of coffee, which I declined, and we chatted a bit more. In the 6-7 minutes we chatted he stepped aside at least 4-5 times to open the doors for entering and exiting guests, some with kids and strollers. He sees everything. He misses no opportunity to be of service to others. That same young lady has much to learn from Mark V.
Would we stay again? Sure. But we’d try to schedule our stay when there would be more parking spaces available.