How OMNI’s Power of One ® Promotes Exceptional Customer Service

Seeking to provide exceptional customer service? Consider the benefits of OMNI’s Power of One ® customer service model.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity – and privilege – to stay at the OMNI Austin Hotel at Southpark in Austin, Texas. And it proved to be an exceptionally memorable customer service experience, similar to my experience at the OMNI Chicago Hotel earlier that year, all because of the Power of One ®.

Let me tell you why the OMNI excels at customer service, and, even more importantly, let me reveal some of OMNI’s Power of One® customer service philosophies that you can incorporate in your business.

But first, let me share some of my actual OMNI customer service experiences this week.

My “delayed” flight (more about that in a moment) into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport arrived about 40 minutes early. Although I had reserved an OMNI hotel shuttle to pick me up at 9:45pm that evening, a hotel shuttle arrived around 9:10pm. When I asked the shuttle driver whether I would need to wait for the later shuttle, he enthusiastically told me that I was welcome to “climb aboard.” Other passengers included several Delta flight attendants, and I was immediately impressed when the shuttle driver handed each flight attendant keys to his and her hotel room, saving them time from having to check in at the front desk.

Did you catch that? Yes, the Delta flight attendants checked into their hotel rooms during the shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel. How cool is that?

By the time I arrived at the hotel, I was starving. My originating flight from Sioux Falls, South Dakota had been canceled, which delayed my arrival into Austin by eight hours. When I mentioned this to the front desk representative, he referred me to the bartender, a few feet away, who immediately provided me with a menu. When I mentioned that I was also thirsty, the bartender handed me two cans of Diet Coke, together with a ice-filled glass. She also told me that because refills were free, I was welcome to grab another can of soda if I needed it.

Finally – and this is not an exaggeration – each encounter I experienced with an OMNI employee proved to be personable and memorable. For instance, the OMNI representative in the gift shop struck up a conversation about my home state, Iowa. Joe, the OMNI technical support representative who assisted with our meetings, talked to me about Austin’s growth. And, Phillip, the shuttle driver from the hotel to the airport, talked about OMNI’s customer service philosophy, which brings me to my final point.

Why does OMNI consistently excel at customer service? Two words: employee empowerment, which, at the OMNI, is referred to as the Power of One. ®

What is the Power of One? ® In essence, the Power of One ® grants each OMNI employee discretion to make decisions that benefit customers. Specifically, the Power of One ® allows employees to “bend the rules” when necessary. It also encourages employees to be team players, to be ambassadors of the hotel, to immediately greet customers, to smile and make eye contact, and to make the first and last 30 seconds count.

As Joe, the OMNI technical support representative, explained during one of our several conversations: “Instead of capitalizing from customer misfortunes, our priority is to make everything right. Ensuring customer satisfaction is more important than worrying about money [and profit] issues.”

During the shuttle ride from the hotel to the airport, Phillip, the shuttle driver, explained that an attractive feature of working for the OMNI is the discretion that employees possess to “make things right.” He emphasized how the Power of One ® is used to justify the decisions of OMNI employees, including front-line staff.

This week, dedicate some thought to these three issues:

  • First, do you or your front-line employees possess the appropriate amount of discretion to “make things right” for customers, despite cost and profitability issues?
  • Second, do your front-line employees make the first and last “30 seconds” of customer encounters count? This relates to the critical concepts of “primacy” and “recency”: in other words, customers best remember the “first” and “last” interactions with your business.
  • Third, to what extent do you and your front-line employees act as ambassadors for your business? How enthusiastic do your employees talk about your business or organization?

As you and your business embark into a new week, keep in mind that if large businesses such as OMNI can provide exceptional customer service experiences on a consistent basis, so can your small- or medium-sized business or organization.

As usual, have a “customerific” week!


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