One of the first mantra's one learns studying marketing is the most successful entities/products/services are ones that under promise and over deliver to the delight of the consumer.
It doesn't take a genius to understand that if you promise something you can't deliver, you not only disappoint your audience but also you likely will lose them and they will spread negative information about your brand.
Saying and delivering outstanding customer service are too very different things. Words are fine but actions speak far louder than words.
Case in point.
I recently stayed at the Gaylord Palms Resort in the Orlando area to attend an event held in their convention center. The hotel is huge with over 1400 rooms including an indoor activity atrium and numerous themed restaurants. It is kind of Disney-like but not Disney.
Virtually all touch points from recordings on the phone to the in-person dealings with staff include efforts to communicate a commitment to extraordinary guest experiences. I like this idea especially the fact that they try to carry this brand message throughout the facility in any and every way they can.
Problem is the execution falls flat and greatly disappoints.
I called housekeeping for extra towels and was assured they would be up to my room in a jiffy. Four hours later still no towels. Two calls to the "can do it/get it done" hotline later and the towels finally showed up along with apologies that they dropped the ball "somewhere".
I stayed two nights with different room rates for each night based on what was being offered. This required getting new keys which were delivered under our door during night one. The keys worked in the room lock but failed to allow me access to my car in the self-park. Although wanting to be very helpful, front desk staff were not consistent in their approach to solving the problem requiring a few, "let me check how this can be done", quips.
The room rate change (but still in the same room) also caused us to lose access to the internet service which never seemed to work again for us. The system did not recognize me and my room number as legitimate guests. I didn't have time to waste trying to get this fixed so I just used my cellular data plan instead.
Special meals for the fitness event I attended were supposed to be available in the sports bar restaurant. Again, the staff was not prepared and had to scramble to try to meet the expectation. The same restaurant the next day was quite busy and this seemed to completely overwhelm many waitstaff members leaving diners unhappy because of delayed food and incorrect delivery of orders. Apologies notwithstanding the problem seemed significant for a place that promises extraordinary service.
There were serveral other service delivery issues but the most insulting two occurred upon check out. I did not get the bill under my door as usual with most hotels, so I called the front desk to get it delivered. (BTW in this huge hotel it is quite a hike to the front desk from most rooms). After waiting over 30 minutes and two telephone calls later and no bill, I went down to the lobby to handle it directly. I received more apologies for the "no-show" front desk person with my bill, but that was the least of my problems. My bill was not remotely accurate requiring an extra 20 minutes of my time to get it straightened out. Despite my rate package documentation in writing, the hotel did not have this information in their system (for some unexplained reason---which generated more apologies) and the front desk staff member assisting me had to manually re-code and re-enterfix each of the four mistaken/inaccurate entries.
And the final blow came when we arrived home only to find that a family member's pillow and blanket had apparently fallen off the bellman's cart while our belongings were being transferred from the room to the hotel's front drive and was not packed into the car. (The hotel fed ex'd the items overnight with more apologies).
The lesson to be learned (hopefully) for Marriott (which runs the Gaylord Palms Resorts) is not to promise what you cannot deliver consistently. Even calling the fix it hotline required several attempts each time because the phone did not get answered or was put into perpetual hold. Not good.
All in all Gaylord Palms is a "needs a lot of work" brand especially if it continues to espouse the "extraordinary" service mantra.
Watching out for you everyday.