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BirdsEye View

what banks and hotels have in common part ii

 My recent article about hotels and banks hit a nerve.  I got so many responses I felt compelled to write a second article on the subject.  This one can also be called,  "How one employee can generate hundreds of thousands of revenue dollars by making a difference".

 

I'm sure you have many such examples.  Here is mine.

 

Over a dozen years ago we stayed for the first time at a Peninsula hotel.  It was in Hong Kong.  We were upgraded to a suite due to an Amex booking, which started us on the right foot with the hotel.  Then, through a chance meeting, we were introduced to Rainy Chan, who was the rooming manager at the hotel at the time.  She was extremely personable and helpful.  Indeed, she is an amazing woman who broke thick glass ceilings in Hong Kong - but that's another story.

 

Rainy and I kept in touch.  Shortly after our visit the Peninsula opened a brand-new hotel in Bangkok.  She suggested we go, and gave us an irresistible rate to do so.  We went and fell in love with the hotel.

 

The story continues.  As the Peninsula Hotels opened around the world, we would go to each one and thoroughly enjoy the experience.  In time, we started holding SCB Forums meetings at the hotels.  The Peninsula became our home away from home.  They know us, and give us great rates, beautiful rooms and VIP service.

 

Consequently, we spent countless nights at the Peninsula Hotels, and held many meetings there as well.  Rainy is now the first woman General Manager in this hotel chain, and she manages the flagship hotel in Hong Kong.  Her assistant knows us, so all we need to do is to email Ada and ask for a reservation somewhere in the system.  She does the rest, and the magic ensues.

 

The best position a bank can ask for is being first in mind.  This is what the Peninsula has accomplished, due to Rainy and their amazing staff.  We don't shop around.  We just go.  It's not the least expensive hotel in town, but, for us, it's the best value.  They save my exercise step and weights only to produce them every time we return, which can be a year or more after the last stay.  They know my love for fruit and leave a full bowl in our room every time.  Their chefs are aware of Dick's nut allergy and make sure we only get nut-free foods.  They cook amazing meals for us and whip cream to go with my scones (instead of the traditional clotted cream) because they know I like it.  In other words, they make us feel so very special.

 

Amazingly, everywhere we go, from the housekeeping crew to the boat captain in Bangkok, they greet us by name.  I don't know how they do it, and I don't care.  It makes me feel special.  I know they have much bigger spenders among their clients, and yet I still feel important to their organization.

 

As you think about your own customer experience, ultimately this is all customers want:  to feel valued, to get a satisfactory product with good value and to get good service.  They are willing to pay for it if the value received seems fair.  Somehow the Peninsula Hotels found a way to execute this value proposition seamlessly throughout their small but far-flung network.  Community banks should be able to execute it at least as well.  By doing so successfully they will be able to out-service any competitor, large or small, and build customer relationships for life.