So I normally only write about legal stuff, but I have been thinking about how many law firms have such a great product, but also terrible customer service and business sense that they aren’t doing well. In other words, if you hire them you’ll be happy with the end result, but getting to that point will be painful and stressful.
Over Thanksgiving I was fortunate enough to be treated by a friend to a trip to Costa Rica (why yes, I do have incriminating photos of him). We ended up in a town called Arenal at the base of a semi-dormant volcano that heated the pools on the property. The hotel and the grounds are called The Springs Resort and it’s the most incredible place I’ve ever stayed at. There are only 45 rooms, but there is a staff of 200. Each person that works there is nicer than the next. The food was great. The rooms had lofts with two bathrooms. The view was amazing. There are waterfalls (which explains why The Bachelor filmed there). They had horse back riding, kayaking, a climbing wall, video game room for the kids, NO RESORT FEES, tubing, a wildlife sanctuary and many more choices.
But the reason I think that lawyers and other business people can learn from this hotel is their owner, Lee Banks. Quick, name the last time you knew the name of a hotel owner that wasn’t a bed and breakfast type place. Saying Paris Hilton or one of the Pritzker’s doesn’t count. Now try to think of the last time you went to a hotel where every staff member not only knew the owner, but had interviewed with him before being offered a job. That was the case with everyone we talked to from the waiters, to the concierge, to the pool bartender to the two young Americans from Indiana who were working at the climbing wall.
Mr. Banks clearly sets the customer service tone and I assume takes good care of his employees as most of the ones we met had been there for a while and seemed to genuinely love working there. When we mentioned to one of them how impressed we were that they all knew him as that is so unusual, they told us that he keeps his business card at the front desk if you want to contact him. So of course I had to get one and wouldn’t you know it, he puts his cell phone on his card. Now that’s service, making yourself accessible.
I only e-mailed him to thank him for the great stay and of course he e-mailed me right back.
Our stay wasn’t 100% perfect, but when you are treated so well and feel as if the decision maker is at your finger tips if you need them, it empowers you as a customer and for me, made me feel vested in their having success. It’s an incredible lesson for me as a business owner or anyone else that runs their own shop. Customer service is #1 for me. This guy treats people like they want to be treated which sounds so simple, but for whatever reason is so hard for so many.
I can certainly be better at it and am making my New Years resolution to be more like Lee Banks. If you have a great product, you can only make it greater by making sure that the customers of your business actually know who you are.
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