“We know you,” the manager at my favorite hotel said to me.
Earlier that afternoon, after I’d finished a business lunch and my guest had departed, I reached into my bag to find that I’d forgotten my wallet.
I spoke to the server, and searched for something to offer – sunglasses?
Twenty minutes, I assured them. I’ll be right back.
They didn’t bat an eye.
And they refused to accept my offer of collateral.
When I returned, the server was gone but had informed the hotel manager, who came over just as I was proffering my credit card.
Aside from a measure of embarrassment on my part, all was well.
My profusion of apologies was met with his words: We know you.
Implicit in them: These things happen. We have a relationship. We trust you.
More than merely putting me at ease, the manager used my error as an opportunity to demonstrate exemplary service from an already stellar hotel and created an even more loyal customer in me.
Drama, in this case, was leveraged.
In a perfect world, there would be no mistakes. On the part of customers or vendors.
People wouldn’t forget their wallets.
Deadlines would always be met.
Projects would never have glitches.
But we know that’s a fairytale.
Instead, the question is: Are we creating relationships that are infused with trust and loyalty so that when there is an inevitable bump, however uncommon, it’s handled quickly, with ease, and doesn’t devolve into mistrust or evolve into a permanent rift?
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