The Power of Purpose, Value and Empowerment

Kay Van Slooten

In a moment of huge frustration, it’s often down to individual staff members to deliver an experience that takes that frustration away and allows one to breathe a sigh of relief and appreciation. On a recent visit to the U.K., I got to experience this first hand.

My husband and I had just driven 6 hours from Cornwall to Chichester. It goes without saying that we were tired and relieved to finally reach our hotel. On approaching the reception desk, we were informed that the agency that we had used to book our room had been trying to get in touch with us because the hotel was actually overbooked, and they would need to relocate us. I’m not the most patient of people, unlike my husband, and so that didn’t go down all that well.

However, Laura the receptionist was amazing and didn’t treat it as our problem; she picked up the phone, called the agency and helped us every step of the way until we had a resolution. While she was doing that, the GM who happened to be within ear-shot, offered us a glass of wine each while the situation got sorted, and engaged us in conversation that distracted us from our issue and made us feel like really valued guests. At the end of the day, we were relocated for the first night, but confirmed a stay with them for the following night.

It was clear that their main purpose was to alleviate our situation and give us a great experience. Here’s a further list of what Laura felt empowered to do, guided by that purpose, from that point on:

  • Confirmed with our new lodgings for the night that everything was set up for our arrival.
  • Called us to ask if we had checked in and that all was okay; also asked how our afternoon exploring Chichester had gone.
  • Offered us a free upgrade to compensate us for our inconvenience, even though it was no fault of their own.

Was I speechless? No, because I couldn’t stop talking about what a fantastic experience they provided! We’d never stayed there before, they knew we were from Canada and so weren’t likely to be regular guests, but they went more than above and beyond for us to give us an experience we’ll speak of for years. We now can’t wait to visit all their other properties along the south coast! Laura completely turned the situation around and made our experience a delight.

Our latest research from The Loyalty Report tells us only 19% of customers feel recognized by brand representatives, making Laura the exception rather than the rule. And we know that brands often fail to deliver consistent positive experiences and secure alignment or compliance of preferred employee behaviours and attitudes. So, the question becomes, how do you take what’s exceptional and turn it into the norm? Ensure your employees have a sense of purpose, feel valued and are empowered to act in the moment and in the best interests of both guest and brand.