A Story About Remarkable Customer Service – from a Leading Hotel Chain

Sadly, it’s not very often we hear about great news stories when it comes to someone having received ‘remarkable’ (Purple Cow style) customer service (especially in the UK), is it?

Indeed, as the studies prove, if we receive good service, we’ll tell around 5 people, whereas if we receive bad service, we’ll tell an average of 11 people BUT potentially we’ll tell thousands, given the power of Social Media and its foghorn approach to naming & shaming the bad ones, right?

It’s why I’m forever waxing lyrical to my clients that, when they DO have a great customer experience, they really must shout about it, from the rooftops and to the masses, through every medium, because spreading good news is a joyous thing to do AND gives others hope and faith that there ARE good people out there, working for good organisations, who truly are on GAS (Give A Sh*t) and are committed to becoming that Purple Cow in their field – showing up & standing out like no-one else can, or will.

A story about Ben, the Guest Relations Superstar

Just like Ben did today when I made the call to the Guest Relations Team at Premier Inn. It was a tricky situation that needed to be dealt with – a double booking for the same night in the same name at the same hotel, both which had been charged for and one which I had no knowledge of, despite it having been booked online by me over a month ago.

In theory, it was my mistake – I mean, I can’t dispute a booking has been made online on a specific day, at a specific time, with all my personal details on it, now can I?

In practice however…. it’s pretty clear, now the event is over, this was simply a human slip-up, where I’d not realised I’d already booked that date, before I went on to book for the same date again AND another 2 dates at the same time (think I’ll put it down to my post-menopausal brain 🤣).

My ‘argument’ with the lovely Ben- the Brand Ambassador for Premier Inn Guest Relations, was that I would’ve thought it would be basic customer service for the hotel to check its upcoming guest list for that day and note anything that looked odd (like a double booking in the same name for the same date) and at least call ahead or email to check the validity of the booking, before just cancelling it down and charging the guest the full amount when the cancellation fee kicked in, to then charge them AGAIN on departure?

Ben explained, very well I might add, how this is difficult to implement, given that guests sometimes book additional rooms for family, colleagues etc. in their own name, plus of course, they have hundreds of guests arriving & departing all the time, so staying on top of the list can be tricky.

Fair comment I thought.

The outcome of our conversation was a positive one – Ben refunded me the cost of the double booking.

He didn’t HAVE to do that – company policy says the employee should use their discretion, which is what Ben did today, thankfully!

And he did a lot more – I mean a LOT more besides, to ensure my experience with his company was a good one….

Here are the lessons we can all learn from Ben, if we want to become that Purple Cow in our field and show up like no-one else can or will:

1. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN – and let the bubble deflate

2. Acknowledge what’s being said, with verbal nods and confirmations

3. Don’t interrupt or talk over your customer – listening is NOT waiting for your turn to speak!

4. Ask questions to clarify exactly what the situation is and check in with your customer to ensure your understanding is correct.

5. If you need to put the customer on hold, give a WIIFY first – let the customer know what’s in it for them to agree to being put on hold BEFORE you press that hold button!

6. Explain your response applying the KISS Principle – talk your customer’s language, be on their wavelength, keep the conversation simple and straightforward.

7. Be clear about next steps and check your customer is clear on the plan of action and what will happen now.

8. Build, maintain and secure rapport throughout the conversation – people ‘buy’ people first and we like people who are like us, or who at least can identify with us, so be empathetic to your customer’s situation.

9. Remember – we never get a 2nd chance to make a great 1st impression and a last impression is a lasting one, so really think about that hello and goodbye, because it can make or break your relationship with the customer in an instant!

10. 84% of a customers’ experience is EMOTIONAL – people will forget what you’ve said; they’ll forget what you did for them (even if you’ve been a real GEM and Gone the Extra Mile) although they’ll NEVER forget how you made them FEEL, so help your customers to feel GOOD to have spoken with you.

Ben is a true exemplar of a Brand Ambassador, who clearly recognises that he is THE vital ingredient in Premier Inn’s recipe of success AND the vital differentiator when it comes to the organisation showing up and standing out from others in their industry.

We can all take a leaf out of Ben’s book today.

Taking heed of any one of those 10 lessons would be a smart move for every one of us,  because the ONLY difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.

All those things Ben did were just little 1%ers, which made a 100% difference to my experience as a Premier Inn customer – making it an extraordinary experience (just like that Purple Cow would be extraordinary) versus an ordinary (black & white) one.

Would I recommend Premier Inn? Hell yes!

Would I provide a review on their website? Of course!

Would I go viral and use that powerful platform of social media (in a POSITIVE way) to spread the good news about my experience? I already have!

As I keep waxing lyrical about folks – this stuff really ain’t rocket science.

Help customers to feel good and therefore, have a good experience of your organisation and then you too can be just like Ben – a true Brand Ambassador, showing up & standing out just like that Purple Cow!


Hello... I'm Marie Cross

‘…and I’d love to include you in our growing list of readers who are discovering new, practical ways to develop remarkable service in their call, contact and customer service centres.’

If you’d like to receive regular updates on developing world class customer service in your contact centre then simply complete the form below, click the button and you’ll receive a regular flow of ideas, hints, tips and techniques straight to your inbox.

Newsletter Subscription

Simply fill in your details to claim your 12 Success Blueprints...

There are 12 Success Blueprints – FIT bulletins that are jam-packed with practical, quick and easy hints, tips and ideas to help you stay on track, keep positive and remain motivated to succeed right there on the frontline!

12 Success Blueprints

Would you like to talk to us about how our services can help your business?

If you’d like a member of our team to call you to discuss your requirements personally, then please complete the form and we’ll get back to you within the next working day.
Call Back Button