Now that’s customer service

A couple of years ago I was mightily impressed by a gentleman (whose name I can’t recall) from the Mandarin Oriental hotel group. At the Smile Conference 2006 in fact – originally billed to be Liam Lambert, but not he. Anyhow, the Mandarin Oriental just looked like a fantabulous place to stay. This Christmas, we escaped to Las Vegas (did I tell you that already?) and on the way back were flying out of San Francisco.

The last visit to San Francisco was a nightmare – we ended up in the faultiest of towers (I’ll tell you my “What, no tip?” story another time…) and it’s hard to find a hotel that is perfectly happy to accept smokers and not dogs and not the other way around in San Francisco. I find that bizarre. So I saw there was a Mandarin Oriental and we decided to treat ourselves. Just one night. Give it a try. Ohhh my goodness…

Now it wasn’t cheap, about 320 USD for one night for a double room which had the most incredible views across SF Bay. But it really was luxury. Not just the facilities, linens and decor, but the way we were treated. It was as if we were old friends coming back home on a visit. It went right across the board, from the doorman to the porter to the receptionist to the barman. The staff all took the same time to look us in the eye, address us by name and treat us like human beings – without the sort of falseness that often comes across from American hospitality staff. You really should stay there just to get breakfast room service – what an experience.

Why am I posting now – well they sent a request to fill out a satisfaction survey, which I did. They asked for comments and I said that I know that it costs money to keep the place so beautiful and the staff so excellent, but I’d love it if it didn’t cost so much to stay there – as I couldn’t really justify a long stay at their prices.

They sent a personal email reply, thanking me for my comments and letting me know they would be passed on to the staff. They also said to keep an eye on the website for special deals that might make a longer stay more economical. I wish! Just looking at the prices for a stay in their Boston property makes my heart pump (545 USD per night)… I do understand, I really do, and yes it is absolute luxury…

It’s not rocket science to acknowledge a survey response with a personal email, but very good customer service. I am a fan, and only wish I had loans in Anglo Irish (’cause I think that you’re meant to have as much on deposit with them as you have in loans with them – where’s that at?) so that I could go and stay there again soon.


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