I thought the crispy bacon on the breakfast buffet would be the highlight of my day.

I was wrong.

There would be champagne. (More on that in a moment.)

I spent three nights in three hotels recently as part of a road trip to southwest Florida for a conference. The really good news is that all three — including the luxury hotel — had free wifi. Maybe high-end hotels are beginning to figure out that adding on fees for Internet access just makes guests mad?

This post is about customer service and the myriad of small opportunities that abound to create memorable moments. It’s also about empowering your employees so they can deliver that “wow” experience. And it’s about remembering that, in an age of social media, your customers are just one click away from talking about you.

Be mindful of your brand promise.

Open Doors You DIdn't Know You Could

Hampton Inn provides key card sleeves that say, “Open Doors You Never Knew Existed.” But then an employee at one of their hotels — literally — wouldn’t let me enter an open side door when it was pouring rain.

It was apparently an employees-only door.

Really?

Or, as I tweeted out: “Hey : Raining, & I can’t enter via door 5 ft from car b/c lady standing there says ‘ees only.’ But I can exit there. WTH?”

I don’t know who is at fault here (clueless employee or poor training), but this was a huge missed opportunity — and not just to keep me dry.

Be friendly at 6:00 a.m.

Debbie Marriott Harrison has said that her company “hires friendly, trains technically.” It’s a smart strategy, and one a lot of hotel chains seem to follow. Whether a guest walks in at 10 p.m. or checks out at 6:00 a.m., that first (and last) impression matters.

Plate of crispy bacon

The bacon (and scrambled eggs) made me very happy. But what perhaps made me smile even more was the cheerful and friendly reaction I got when I thanked the woman in charge of the breakfast buffet for serving bacon. She totally understands bacon obsession — and we’d probably still be chatting about the best breakfasts ever if I didn’t have to get back on the road.

Of course, I tweeted out my bacon obsession: “Huge shoutout to Port Charlotte for the crispy bacon in the breakfast buffet. I started my day a very happy camper.”

Think personalized experience.

There’s been a lot of discussion lately around customized content. From Facebook’s algorithm to Amazon’s “if you bought this, then…” recommendation engine, we want — and increasingly expect — the companies we do business with to “know” and remember us and our buying / searching / viewing preferences.

It’s about contextual immediacy.

[bctt tweet=”Contextual immediacy is customers’ expectation that companies will respond to our unique needs.”]

Is this realistic? Of course not (entirely). But perception often shapes customer experience.

This is a challenge for businesses, especially large companies. Sure, they have big budgets. But their customers, their workforces, and their reach are often scattered across the country or the globe.

Hyatt Hotels has cracked the code.

When I checked in for my conference, I discovered that the hotel serves mimosas at midday. Yet again I tweeted about my experience (yes, there is a trend here): “Just arrived & word is they’re about to serve mimosas. Yeah, I’ll be there.”

A few minutes later HyattConcierge tweeted me back to welcome me and hope that my stay was “more play time than work time.” And they asked me to DM [private message] my details. Next thing I knew, room service was at my door:

I’ve made friends via Twitter. I’ve build a baseball tribe. I’ve found clients, partners, vendors, and a myriad of useful business tips. But this was the first time Twitter delivered champagne to my door. Count me wowed.

Technology is changing. How customers interact with you is changing. How can your business take advantage of both?

Crispy bacon by Dan4th (Flickr).