As far as consumers go, I’m not a very good one. That is, I walk into most places paranoid that someone wants to take me for a ride. Every establishment and product has to prove itself worthy of my dollars.
I walked into the Ibis Hotel Hamburg Airport (Germany), part of the Accor Hospitality Group, with the same attitude at the end of 2010. I was to spend the night in the hotel, then catch an early flight out. My Verizon phone doesn’t work in Europe, and I hadn’t brought an alarm clock, so I told scheduled a wakeup call with the reception desk for the next morning.
The call never came. The room had blackout curtains. I was sick with some kind of upper sinus Eurovirus. You can guess what happened next: I missed my flight.
Not knowing this, I went to the reception area and told them my call had never come. Forgetting that my watch was set to GMT rather than Hamburg time, I told them to call a cab for my 8:30 flight.
“But it’s 8:30 now,” said the receptionist. Sick and baffled, I stood there quietly, my only communication being a rather pathetic expression. When Knut, the manager, saw me, he took charge of the situation.
“We’ll call you a cab,” he said. “Book yourself a new flight, mail us the receipts, and we’ll reimburse you.”
So I did. I slipped onto another plane, made it to my destination, and mailed Knut the relevant documents. He confirmed that he’d received them, and said that although he didn’t know why the wakeup call never went through, my experience was important to the hotel. They wanted me to retain good memories of the place. He would reimburse the full cost of the flight.
Color me flabbergasted. This is the best, kindest customer service I have received in years. I didn’t have to fight or argue. What I needed most was offered to me, right there on the spot. I want to give a very public shout-out to Knut and everyone at the Ibis Accor Hotel Hamburg for providing five-star service at their establishment.