It was an experience I will always remember. I checked into the Oakland Waterfront Hotel in Oakland, CA. The front desk clerk had a special gleam in her eye when I presented my credit card. “We are so glad to have you,” she said, with a strong emphasis on the “so.” I must admit I was a bit suspicious as I walked from the lobby to my room. The double doors of the guest room gave me a clue there was something special on the other side.


She had given me their penthouse suite, complete with a giant living room, kitchen, dining room, luxury bath, and private outdoor meeting area on the huge balcony overlooking the lake near Jack London square. There was a giant TV in three rooms. It would be a perfect suite for a party for 50 people but I had it, late at night, all by myself. Early the next morning I was delighted to discover the front desk clerk who checked me in was still on duty. “How did I get that amazing suite?” I asked her. Her answer was a lesson in attention to detail.


“We were running out of guest rooms,” she told me. “I looked at our guests with reservations who had not checked in and realized you were from the East Coast. That likely meant you were coming to us after a very long flight. I assumed you would appreciate a special treat and I wanted to surprise you.” She was completely accurate, on all counts.


Paying attention to customer details signals deep caring. It telegraphs a passion for customers. It is a demonstration of a commitment to crafting experiences that create a story customers are eager to share. Customers no longer talk or tweet about a good experience, only experiences that are unique or over-the-top. Make it matter by making it special. “God is in the details,” wrote renowned architect, Miles van der Rohe. Managing the details is also the foundation for a magnetic customer experience.