I recently took a brief vacation to Las Vegas, quite arguably one of the most decadent places in the world. Everything on the strip has a high price tag, and every whim is available from shopping and fine dining to entertainment and spas. In a place where you can spend serious cash on simple things like water, apples, and oxygen (yes, there’s an oxygen bar there), one thing was curiously missing; Remark!able customer service.
In a place dependent on tourism and catering to people, I would have thought customer service would be a primary focus. At first, it’s easy to dismiss the issue with reasons of anomalies, disgruntled employees, and bad moods. However, as time went on, I found myself thinking things such as “this would never fly in Minnesota” and “don’t they have training programs to help these employees learn basic tenants of customer service?” Even though I was on vacation, I felt myself wanting to step in and help people figure out how to sell each person $150 show tickets in an efficient manner, void of heckling from those standing in long lines (yep, I was in many of those lines).
Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba talk of creating customer evangelists, and Las Vegas as a tourist destination (on a macro-level) clearly has word of mouth on its side, but broken down to a micro-level, it’s mind boggling how customer service can be at best lackluster. I began to think that maybe my background in small business and marketing had me overly critical. After all, I spend my days devoted to keeping clients happy and teaching people how to listen to their customers. Maybe it was just my imagination that the waitress at the pool only yelled “drinks” while walking 15 miles an hour past people and avoiding any and all eye contact.
Then it happened.
I decided to treat my sister and I to one drink by the pool. After flinging my body into the path of the waitress, cheating death (not really, but it makes for a good story) and paying $30 for two drinks (that part is true), I declared an end to the madness. An in-depth conversation ensued about customer service being significantly more Remark!able in the rural Midwest. The topic remained on our tongues the remainder of the vacation, and I decided to dig deeper.
When I encountered a smiley clerk (shop at Caesar’s Palace), an attentive wait staff (Emerald’s at MGM Grand), or a funny cab driver, I asked where he/she was from. The answer? All from the Midwest! I kid you not. Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan respectively.
The point of this article is not to review my Las Vegas vacation, but to give kudos to those who put a focus on Remark!able customer service. It may not seem like a big deal, but without it, a business is reduced to a transaction; void of an experience worth telling others about. Now, go forth and tell others about your great customer service experiences. Happy Small Business Month!