In DC last week for client work, I arrive at my hotel to discover that the requests I’ve made in advance regarding my room are not met.  When I ask to speak to the manager to get my questions answered, I’m told that the person I’m addressing is the manager.  They know little about the property, are unable to answer my questions, and, although pleasant, are not concerned with my satisfaction.

I switch hotels.

As I make my reservation at the new hotel, central reservations calls the property where I’ll be staying to confirm that they can accommodate me.  Despite calling at the end of the day, they make it happen.  The new hotel is within one mile of the first, a direct competitor in both proximity and brand.  I’m told that when I arrive, it will be an hour before my room is ready and that I am welcome to relax at the hotel and grab a drink.  On them.

When I arrive, the front desk person who was the point of contact for central reservations, overhears me talking to her colleague at check in and immediately and warmly greets me.  She informs me that my room is, as expected, not yet ready, but she’s put a call in to housekeeping and they’re on it.  She assures me that they’re meeting my needs.  She offers the complimentary drink but instead takes time to give tailored restaurant recommendations when I tell her it’s food that I’m looking for.

During check-in, I ask where I can purchase a cell phone charger, having left mine at home.  She provides me with the one that she has and directs me to the Apple store a short walk away.

After going to explore the dinner options that she’s recommended, I swing by the front desk to be sure my room is not yet ready.  It’s not, but they have my cell and they’ll call as soon as it is, she assures me.  My bag is heavy.  I’m tired.  As I exit through the swinging doors to walk to dinner, I hear running footsteps behind me and someone calling out “Ms. Levitt!”  It’s her.  My room has just become ready.

When I thank her for her extraordinary attention to service, that it has made a big difference for me, and that I’d like to speak to her superior to tell them about her performance, she tells me it’s not necessary, that she’s just doing what she does.

Here’s the thing: She meant it.

(Yes, I coaxed it out of her.)

Your front line is your bottom line.

What would your business look like if those team members on the front lines of your organization, whether internal or client-facing, behaved as this hotel team member did?  What if it was the kind of behavior and performance that became a steel barrier to customer attrition?  The kind that brings customers to you and keeps them coming back?  The kind that allows you to charge more?

The kind that gets your competitor’s customers to jump ship and never return?


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