Have you ever replied to an automated email?

When you have a hotel stay coming up, you often get an automated email welcoming you along. Have you ever replied to one of these though? I did, and here’s what happened…

Recently, I spent a few weeks in the States and had two stints staying at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, for a couple of conferences. I got an email from the Guest Connections Manager saying how excited they all were about my upcoming visit (generic email, but a lovely sentiment).

Normally I skim over this type of email, but as I too was excited about my trip, I decided to reply. I sent sent a simple one liner to Katherine in Guest Connections, thanking her for her email (I decided to pretend it was personal and not automated) and saying how much I was looking forward to returning to her hotel (I’ve stayed there before), all the way from the UK. I didn’t expect anything back, to be honest, but what unfolded was pretty spectacular by customer service standards.

Katherine replied with a couple of comments about the weather and asking me what I had planned while I was in town. I told her about the conference, then my cheeky betwixt-conference trip up the coast, and my return visit for the second conference. I also told her I had stayed with them several times before and how it felt like my home from home in San Diego.

That was it as far as I was concerned, but turns out that was only the start.

On my first night in the Manchester Hyatt, a room service chap came up to my room and delivered a lovely bottle of red wine and a box of truffles. I was a bit confused, so he checked his list and told me it was a VIP welcome package from Katherine.

Oh wow!

How cool was that?

Of course, I sent Katherine an email thanking her so much for her kindness. And took a photo and shared it on Facebook telling all my friends how amazed I was.

She replied the next day with some more comments about the weather and asking if I needed anything else.

I didn’t really have anything else to say, but as I had a pre-conference day off, I told her I was by the pool enjoying the sunshine. Just a bit of chat felt like the right way to respond.

Cue the next stage of the amazing customer service experience.

Katherine asked which pool I was by and arrived carrying a cup of iced water for me. Hand delivered!

I was pretty blown away by this, and blustered a series of slightly sweaty and bikini-clad British expressions of thanks. I was just so delighted that someone had taken the time to make a guest feel so welcome. Katherine said it was nice for her to get something back from a guest, and so she wanted to meet me in person and say hi.

Now that’s what I call damn good customer service. And all from an automated email!

I reflected quite a bit on this experience while I was away and the major point was that the hotel (one person in particular) took the time and effort to make me feel special. How often do we do that in our businesses? It means the world to the recipient and creates a life-long fan, as well as happy memories.

We can all learn from this đŸ™‚