Seeking the Exceptional

Think of time that a business went above and beyond your expectations to provide amazing service?   What did they do?  What was it that made their service exceptional?

My wife and I were taking a weekend trip to San Francisco following a week filled with particularly strong rainstorms.  As we were leaving town, we learned that the interstate had been closed in the direction we were travelling due to a severe mudslide.  After speaking with transportation officials, we made the decision not to wait for the road to reopen but to take the hundred-mile detour that was the next best option (we learned later that this was indeed the better choice as the road was still closed when we reached our destination.)

The drive we originally expected to take 3 1/2 hours ended up taking 6 1/2 due to the change in route and the addition of city traffic, which our original plan and timetable would have avoided.  At 11:30 pm, we arrived at our hotel for the evening – the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Berkeley Marina.  As I gave my identification to the receptionist she stated, “I’m so glad you’re here – I’ve been waiting for you all day!”  That qualified as an unusual statement until she explained that the Presidential Suite was unoccupied for the evening and we had been upgraded at no charge!

How do we provide exceptional service?

The short answer is ….. that depends.  Exceptional is, by definition, a departure from the ordinary; but – more importantly – it is a perception by those with whom we interact.  We all have expectations in life when dealing with friends, family, and those with whom we do business.  We must frequently call upon current knowledge (whether true or misguided) and previous experience to develop our expectations for these interactions.  When these expectations are exceeded, we consider that to be exceptional.

Did the upgrade to our room cost the hotel anything?  Potentially, yes.  We could have made full use of the entire space and made a mess requiring additional time and resources to clean (we didn’t do that).  In reality, the action went above and beyond our expectations for a clean room that matched the description and photographs we saw online.

What is considered to be exceptional in your field or business?  What are the usual expectations for service?  Leave a comment below!





About davidbernst

Hello! My name is David Ernst and you've reached my blog. I've spent my professional career as a teacher, customer service supervisor, and pediatric office manager.
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4 Responses to Seeking the Exceptional

  1. Katie Shive says:

    And I’m guessing you’ll keep them in mind next time you need to book a hotel room. A small investment for the company, a huge impression upon you. Win- win!


  2. Danae Lear says:

    That’s awesome! I want to stay there! It’s the little things that matter, and anything we can do to go above and beyond the customer’s expectations makes a lasting impression!


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