Let’s Take a Walk Together



Story: “Mr. Rubis, we are so happy to see you again. Thank you for returning to our hotel. We know you’re likely too busy to fully utilize our loyalty program, so we have taken the liberty of moving you to a suite before your upgrade certificates expire this week. And I want to remind you that you’ve earned a spa, complimentary bottle of Cristal, and a 50 percent discount from our fine dining room. Would you like any of these amenities during your stay? By the way, if you like to use Uber or Lyft, the best door to connect is the west one. My understanding is that you’re checking out on Friday morning. If you are going to the airport, we have a limo service that’s the same price as a taxi. Could I book that for you? I also want to remind you that CNN is on channel 21 (they know I mostly watch this), and the Top 5 Zagat-rated restaurants within a five minute walk are on this list. Please let us know if we might make a reservation.”

Now, I’m fortunate enough to stay regularly at a five star hotel, and NONE of the above happens. It’s a made up story. They think “WOW” is an occasional room upgrade, (which I appreciate), but based on the data they have on me, it’s a vanilla experience.

Key Point: We can WOW customers. It’s not that hard, but very few companies do so. I’ve been doing a fair amount of traveling lately, and I’ve been more intentionally observing how often I’m truly WOW’d as a customer. Every day, from the moment I get up, to the time my head hits the pillow, there are WOW moment opportunities… Yet, I rarely experience them. When I enter any commercial experience, I generously give the service provider the full opportunity to make my day. On the contrary, I often get agitated by the experience. Here is just ONE thing every company can do: Greet the customer like you actually care, and want them to enjoy your offering.

Recently at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, I bought a breakfast bowl from a merchant. Ok, I know this is a minimum wage job, but honest-to-goodness, this employee actually made me wonder if the food was safe. If a WestJet pilot wasn’t in front of me, I’d have bailed. Is it that hard to smile at a customer and make them feel welcome? And why get mad if you ask for extra guacamole?

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Just start by focusing on the greeting process in your company; in person and/or digital. How do you constantly and consistently WOW your customers at that moment? I bet you don’t know. If you are unsure, you likely suck at it and/or hope you’ve got consistently great people at every intersection (I doubt it). Start there, and you will probably have an edge on your competition.
  2. Take a virtual walk with me through your day, looking for WOW opportunities. What will you learn?

Just a little WOW in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: I’m lucky enough to live a “yes ma’am, yes sir, no ma’am, no sir” culture, and while that might seem like a mundane detail, it’s shockingly noticeable. The ingrained hospitality and politeness is so pleasant on a customer service level, you truly do leave a grocery store (or anywhere, really), with cordial encounter after cordial encounter. Now, we Millennials aren’t generally expecting bottles of Cristal or a limo service, but the positive energy from the simplicity of a good attitude is at least a W. (Then, the other O and W will build from there). 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis