A few months ago, I wrote about ingenious styles of customer service that every business should know about, mostly because their employees were inflicting them on their customers.
For instance, I warned about "in your face customer service" and "run for cover customer service", two equally effective opposites...like pouring too much sugar on your Cheerios one day, and pouring too much cayenne pepper on them the next.
I also warned about "do-it-yourself-extortion", "consistent filibuster customer service", "Invisible Man customer service", "present-at-attendance customer service", "customer service on steroids", and "satirical customer service".
You will have to read about these clever anti-sales pitches at:
http://www.thehappyguy.com/customer-service.html , because today I want to tell you about a 100% revolutionary approach to customer service that my wife and I discovered in a village high up in the mountains.
We were on our annual honeymoon, a three-day escape from parenthood to lick our wounds and give our tattered spirits a chance to recuperate.
To tell the truth, the weekend was more like a marriage encounter. It gave me a chance to find out just who is that strange woman passing me in the hallway at full throttle, pinching her nose and radiating the sweet smell of mushy diaper as she whooshes past. And it gave her the chance to discover the even stranger man who blows a muffled "Oof!" every time Little Lady invents a new "Hop On Pop" dance move.
Check-in at the fairly expensive Resort-on-the-Edge-of-Nowhere was 4:00 p.m., and it was made very clear that we would not be welcome until then. It's always an ominous sign when a resort begins by warning you when you will not be welcome, so we arrived at 4:00 p.m..
At 6:30 we stopped by the front desk on the way to dinner to request an additional pillow. Being in a sleep-related establishment in, we figured there would an off-chance that this request might be reasonable.
Wrong. The desk clerk could not provide a pillow because the laundry department closed at 4:00, and he had no way of accessing anything that was not right at the desk, he told us with a deadpan face.
"But we were not allowed to check in until 4:00 p.m.," I protested.
At this point, Deadpan Clerk pulled from under the desk a box big enough to hold almost half a pillow, and started rummaging helpfully through it to see if he could find a pillow. He could not, he announced.
In the hospitality business, folks should know how to treat people hospitably, or so I thought. If that were the case, I suppose I would never have written about Hotel Stella and the Wicked Witch of Lido ( http://www.thehappyguy.com/Hotel-Stella.html ) or about the paper-thin walls in many hotels these days ( http://www.thehappyguy.com/hotel-jokes.html ). OK, so the latter was largely fiction, a desperate search for a column topic, but the Hotel Stella torture story was 100% true.
Back at the fairly expensive Resort-on-the-Edge-of-Nowhere, Deadpan Clerk proceeded to assure us that we were not the only ones he mistreated. Phew, what a relief! In fact, just a few minutes earlier a man had come looking for an iron for his wife (probably for his wife's dress, as men rarely iron their wives, but Deadpan Clerk never clarified that).
He proudly related how he had explained to the man that irons were not available after 4:00 p.m., unless he had one in his magic little box.
"But we were not allowed to check in until 4:00 p.m.," the man protested.
He sent the man back to inform his wife that she will have to attend the dinner theatre in a dress looking like a prune (the dress, not the wife...at least, not that we were aware of).
NOTE: Although no missing persons report has been filed, we did not see the man again.
Deadpan Clerk was proudly informed us that he had sent the man away without an iron. Apparently we did not rank high enough to deserve even their very worst customer service.
I should end this story on a happy note. But how? I escaped alive, along with the strange woman I pass every day in the hallway. It turns out she is my wife, go figure. And a most compassionate wife, too...she even helped Deadpan Clerk escape alive, too, at least until I return to the fairly expensive Resort-on-the-Edge-of-Nowhere.
About The Author
David Leonhardt is a humor columnist:
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