The bank promises your account will be secure, the hospital pledges to be clean and the flight is guaranteed to land in the right city. They all care about customers, right? Or, are they caring about their core offering, not its recipient? When organizations promise “customer care” are the promises like ones you’d make to your daughter or grandson or one more like a city promises its citizens?


My wife and I checked into Atlanta Airport Marriott before leaving on a twelve-day vacation trip. The plan was to stay one night at the hotel and leave our car at the hotel parking lot. I am a Marriott platinum which assured us of a room on the concierge level. The front desk suggested we each have a room key. “If your wife comes down to the lobby without the key, she will have to call you to come down for her since a room key only accesses your floor.” He seemed to care about us, not just our hotel room.


The valet guy took charge of our vehicle by giving me a claim check. “Since you will be gone for twelve days,” he said, “I suggest you take a picture of the claim check with your smartphone. That way, when you come back from your vacation, if you cannot locate your claim check, you will have it on your phone.” He seemed to care about us, not just our vehicle.


Early the next morning as we were getting ready to leave our hotel room for the courtesy bus to the airport, our hotel receipt had been slid under the door. A common practice these days for many hotel chains. However, our receipt included a slip of paper that gave the weather for our hometown. The computer knew we were checking out, assumed we were returning home and gave us a heads-up on the weather. They cared about our experience, not just our bill.


Customer care is not about outcomes alone. It is recognizing service is being delivered to a human with needs, expectations, hopes, and aspirations. It is serving with kindness and consideration, not just efficiency and accuracy.