Today is Thursday, October 5th. National Customer Service Week has been going all week and we have been celebrating great customer service heroes. Our CS hero for Thursday serves as the concierge and host extraordinaire for the Park Hyatt in Manhattan—Michael Sinatra.
It was an hour before the start of Broadway shows and the concierge desk was glutted with guests seeking help with dinner reservations, directions, shopping recommendations, and last-minute show tickets. And, it was the week before Christmas! I watched Michael deliver non-stop warmth, focus, and charm. Like the serene duck swimming on a pond, you could not see Michael’s “feet paddling hard.”
The following day I stopped by the concierge desk to inquire about his technique for graceful holiday serving under pressure. He humbly offered a few ideas as if they were common sense principles known by everyone.
Focus on serving a customer. When you are around Michael he seems completely absorbed in you and you alone. Be a service choreographer. A great customer experience requires managing an amalgamation of diverse elements and he mastered the details that matter. Effective hosts know it is not the lions and tigers that usually doom service quality, it is the gnats and mosquitoes—those tiny irritants easy to overlook but often deliver aggravation out of proportion to their size.
Don’t see customers through the lens of the organization; see the organization through the lens of your customers. National Customer Service Week is a chance to start serving like a great concierge. Pay attention to the details with the same vigilance as the big stuff. Help your customers get the feeling they are your only customer. Be a great host to those you serve.
P.S. Michael was named last March to the Board of Directors of the New York City Association of Hotel Concierges.