Friday, 1 February 2008

A Treatise On Being Treated Like A Person: Case Study The W Hotels

We often find ourselves in discussions on how to humanize brands. Over this entire W hotel experience (see my earlier post here) what I have come to discover is that it's not so much about making brands more human but rather having the brand treat me like a human. It's the action. It's the demonstration.

Case and point the W hotel. To sum up, I was thrilled with my stay at the W Lakeshore in Chicago except there was a billing error and Nansi the Blast Radius receptionist in the NY office had her credit card charged instead of me. Nansi was unable to convince anyone she spoke to at the W that they should change that error and thus I wrote a blog post. After I wrote the post, I shared it with Ross Klein the President of the W hotels. More an FYI and let me know if you want to do anything about this and I'll update my post.

Firstly, Ross emailed me back almost instantaneously. The email wasn't sent to a PR department or forwarded to some customer service person. Instead, he personally sent me a note that he was on it and he'll get back to me.

At that point, I watched the traffic to that post go through the roof as he likely forwarded it around to the appropriate members of his team.

Within one day, I had an email from Karen the credit manager who let me know that they had not only changed the charge but reversed it completely. When I thanked both her and Megan her assistant (as this is exactly the service i have come to expect and respect at the W), they also offered to send Nansi some goodies as a thank you from the W store.

Now that's what I'm talking about. Mistakes happen. Not every brand can be perfect. But the speed and diligence with which Ross, Karen and Megan addressed my issue is exactly why the W hotels are one of my favorite brands. They created a brand vision that's somewhat aspirational, but they have 'dimensionalized' and made it operational throughout their customer experience - from the mats on their elevators to the way they have now dealt with me.

Now if we could just do something about their website. (just kidding...sorta :)


FixedXorBroken said...

Very funny post. I appreciate your use of juxtaposition here: "how to humanize brands".

Leigh said...

Thanks fixed.... :)

corine @ hidden in france said...

Just popping in to say that I'm having a blast roaming through your blog. (How I discovered it I can't remember.)

Leigh said...

I see you linked to the Hema site.
I have no idea what they sell either.

Julie, writer said...

Great service. And great reaction time. It's one thing to apologize and another thing to apologize sincerely. I'm really thrilled to hear or read about stories like this because it shows that not everybody is only after the money and the profit. You are not just another customer but a valued person and should be treated with respect.

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