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Published:May 8th, 2007 09:50 EST
Clearly a Perfect 10

Clearly a Perfect 10

By Terry Sumerlin (Mentor/Columnist)

Before being seated for a delicious breakfast and fabulous sunrise on the lake, I decided to put my luggage in the car and check out of the hotel. I’d had a wonderful weekend as the keynoter for the Southwest Drycleaners Association in Clear Lake, Texas. The reception from attendees of the conference had been very warm, and the staff of the Hilton (NASA) had been great.

When asked by the young man at the desk if everything had been okay, I assured him it had. “Then, Mr. Sumerlin, would you give us all 10s if we sent you an evaluation questionnaire?" I returned his pleasant smile and assured him I would. And, I did.

The questions were nothing out of the ordinary. You get the same basic survey from hotels all over the country. What you sometimes don’t get is the kind of care I received there. And, I’m sure I was not the exception.

As a side note, the facility has an interesting history. It’s the same hotel that made news some years ago when, right in front of the place, a dentist in a Mercedes put an end to her husband’s affair by running over him. The fact that she then put her car in reverse and backed over him might have had something to do with the jury convicting her. That said, what will always stand out in my mind about the hotel are those things over which the staff had and took control during my stay.

From check in I was tipped off regarding what to expect. First of all, I was greeted promptly and pleasantly. When asked if my room was ready for early check in (since I wanted to rest prior to speaking in a few hours), the lady behind the counter responded, “Oh, yes sir. We received your call making that request and your room is ready for you."

After resting a while, I dressed for the event, and headed to the meeting room. Hotel staff were setting up the room, but took time to pleasantly answer a few questions. They eagerly helped me with a few preparations, and asked how else they might help.

As we did a few odds and ends, I casually asked the audio/visual technician if he thought the weather was going to improve the next day. He said he didn’t know, but would find out. Though I insisted it was not important, he left and came back with the weather report that he had printed off the computer. I was stunned by such a second mile approach.

In addition to all this, there is the matter of the candy bowl on the registration desk. It was there when I checked in, but not there that night. The lady at the desk noticed I was seeking but not finding. “I told him," she said with a smile, “he shouldn’t take that off the counter because someone would want it." “We caught him," I replied jokingly. “But, I really don’t need the candy." She tracked him and the candy down, anyway, and returned the bowl to its rightful spot.

If you think these are all little things, you’re right. If you think the focus of this column is just about hotel chains, think again.

“Can do," “how can I help" and “going the extra mile" are all hallmarks of successful businesses. Often, they distinguish businesses or organizations that thrive from those that die.

One other quality of successful businesses is a well trained staff that cares enough to seize an opportunity when one is presented, i.e. “Then would you give us all 10s?" “Cares" in the preceding sentence is the operative word. That’s quality. And, while training might be helpful in many areas, training for overall quality of attitude is generally short lived and ineffective.

BARBER-OSOPHY: Hiring quality people with good attitudes is by far superior to expecting all quality to come from training.

For More Information:  http://barber-osophy.blogspot.com/