"How are you this morning?" the smiling breakfast attendant asked. "Would you like a glass for your tomato juice?"
It didn't even occur to me that I might prefer to drink out of a glass instead of the cold aluminum can, but yes, I would appreciate a glass. She quickly returned with a glass and proceeded to pour the juice. "Can I get you anything else?" She whisked the can away. After some small talk, she went off to attend to her duties. I watched as she went from table to table, engaging everyone with her smile. Customers were smiling right back.
"There's something special about that lady," I remarked to my friend Sharon. "She's really pouring on the customer service."
As we continued our breakfast, I couldn't take my eyes off of the gal. She continually checked the buffet line, made coffee and went from table to table without stopping. And from table to table, I watched as guest after guest lit up with a smile. She came back to our table to see if we needed anything.
So I took that moment to get her story. Barb Weinkein started at the Joplin Marriott Residence Inn back in October of 2009. The hotel itself is fairly new, it opened in 2006. It has won numerous awards, including Chairman of the Board Award by Marriott International in 2008 for its number one rank worldwide for superior guest satisfaction. Barb herself was sporting some award pins, and from her actions that morning, I could see that it was well-deserved.
I have stayed at many hotels, but there was another thing that made this hotel stand out. "Look, Mom! We got a note!" my daughter announced when we arrived at the Marriott after ten long hours on the road. We were greeted with a handwritten note from Bessie, the suite attendant, welcoming us to our room.
I took a minute to connect with Pete Hall, the hotel manager who has been there since the hotel opened. What makes this hotel stand out so much, I wanted to know. "We make a real attempt to personalize our service to each guest," Pete explained. "We engage them in conversation at every opportunity--we want to know their names and get to know them. We look at our guests as an extension of our family-- we try to tailor our services based on what we would do for our own families--that way it's less of a hotel and more of a home."
According to Pete, Barb has been involved in the service industry all of her life, and Pete has personally experienced her stellar service when she worked at another place. "Barb is an incredible associate," said Pete. "She's genuine, caring and has a passion for customer service. She looks for ways to find out what makes each customer different and unique, and she tailors her service for that customer. She's a big part of our success -- it's a joy and a privilege to work with her."
You can bet that the next time I head down to Texas, I'll be stopping at this Marriott once again. Except this time, I'll be pouring Barb a drink.