Generation Y fighting for the customer

I arrive in Dallas feeling good. I get my bag and look for directions to the hotel. There is no phone number in the confirmation so I’m a little annoyed.   The transitions are always the hardest when I’m in a hurry, I just found out my meeting starts at 5:30 not 7:00pm.  The website gives the reservations number, not the hotel number.  I call 411 and can’t connect where I am standing.  “Look for the pony.”  I say to myself.

Alas! A wall of hotel signs and a phone. Wyndham is there.   Hooray!!  I call, I wait and I get a happy gentleman on the line.

“Hi, I just arrived at the airport and my name is Christina Harbridge. I’m staying there tonight, can you come get me?”

“Absolutely. Go to passenger waiting area D1 downstairs and we will be there within 15 minutes.”

I find the spot. I wait.

I get a call from my buddy Theresa (with an H) who is staying with me at the Wyndham. We agree to meet there.
After 20 minutes, I call the guy. I ask him if I am in the right spot.

“Oh. Um. Our driver isn’t there yet. Just wait and he’ll get there soon.”

My phone rings. Theresa is on the phone. “Christina, I just talked with the shuttle driver at our hotel and he says they do not pick up passengers from the airport.”
Just then, a driver taps me on the shoulder. “Wyndham?” He is a sweet kid, takes my bag and we get in the shuttle.
“Theresa, I’m getting in the shuttle. See you soon.”

He tells me he is really sorry that I had to wait so long and that it was their fault.
“Oh, what happened?” I could see him pause for a moment perhaps wondering if he should tell me what did happen. “Well, we made a mistake and missed you on the first call. I’m really sorry.”  He doesn’t blame anyone… just takes it for the team.

My annoyance immediate gone. Front desk people get busy, I can see it happening. It is only 15 minutes of my life. No worries.

Ryan, the driver and I, both have young sons,Sebastian (4) and Michael (5).  We have a lively conversation about kids and customers. Somehow we figure out I am not going to his Wyndam.

You see, there are TWO Wyndham Hotels near the airport. BOTH are on John Carpenter Drive. When I called the hotel I asked, “Is this the Wyndham on John Carpenter.” The guys said yes.

Ryan called in his manager and let them know I was at the wrong hotel and said he was only 2 miles away and would just drop me off at my hotel. The manage said (I could hear him) “No way. Bring her here and she can take a cab.”

I was in awe as Ryan fought for me a little. He did this in hushed tones to protect the reputation of his hotel and his boss. I could hear him saying “It will take me less than 5 minutes, please? We have done this before and we don’t have any other calls right now.”
The boss told him to call the other Wyndham and tell them to come get me from THEIR hotel.

I was sort of in shock. Of course I know the Wyndham isn’t the Four Seasons- certainly they realize that this 5 minute moment can create an evangelist or a critic for a lifetime.

Ryan understood it. He fought for it. “Ryan, can you let your manager know that I’m late for a meeting that starts in 5 minutes and I’d so appreciate him doing me this favor.”

The manager still said I should call my hotel.  Ryan whispered to him, dude, we already made her wait 20 minutes because we forgot the call.  Can’t we just drop her?

We were 2 minutes from my hotel. Ryan took me there. He told me how he was happy to have a job and how much he enjoyed what he did. He spoke highly of the hotel and the people who work there. He as perfect.

I worry that he might be fired for this. Will his manager understand what this kid did?

What startles me about this whole scenario is how often this mix-up must happen.  Two Wyndhams on John Carpenter.   Why didn’t the front desk person CONFIRM that I was staying that the right Wyndam. Why did he leave that to chance?

Oh, it gets better. I arrive at my hotel. I walk in. I tell Raz the front desk guy what happened. His response? “They are really busy over there. I can see why they wanted you to take a cab.”

Are you kidding me? Really?  Couldn’t you just say, “Ouch, that sucks. “  or “Wow, what was the kid’s name?  I’m gonna send him flowers.”
SOMETHING that resembles I’m on your side customer, I travel and I get it.  Raz is a nice guy, he just forgot forgot that the person standing in front of him just wants a human nod not an excuse or even an apology.

I’m hoping the Wyndham gives Ryan a huge promotion and puts him in charge of customer service: for the entire chain.   I don’t expect a lot when I travel as a customer.  What I often end up getting are individuals who make individual decisions that make me feel human.

By the way, Ryan is under 30.  I often find that this age group tends to do the ‘right’ thing rather than the ‘corporate’ thing.    Like it.

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