We were stopped at a red light, waiting to turn left when we noticed the steam billowing out from under the hood. The battery light started flashing and we knew our day trip to Park Rapids was not going to happen. In a split second, our discussion changed from hoping the sun would come out to hoping we’d be able to get back to the Wal-Mart parking lot before the car died.
This weekend, our mini-vacation took a sharp turn from the expected and moved right into “now what do we do” territory. My husband and I had left our hotel room in Fargo Sunday morning, fully intending to return later that evening so we could relax in the hot tub and enjoy a nice dinner before heading home Monday morning. Instead, we found ourselves in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Detroit Lakes with the hood of our car up, not knowing when we would get back. Throughout our little adventure, there were a few service providers who really stood out, mostly in a good way, but not all.
Thank you Don from D.L. Towing. You did more than just tow our car. You helped make our day better with your friendliness and your very, very kind and much appreciated offer to drop us off at a hotel after you brought our car to Tires Plus. Thank you for going above and beyond what we expected and paid for.
To the grumpy lady at the hotel which shall remain unnamed: When we asked about the possibility of a late check-out on Monday morning as we were unsure how long the car would take to fix, there was no reason to glare at us over your glasses and very curtly say “You have to be out by 1 pm.” We didn’t ask to be there all day, after all. A little empathy and a generous offer to extend our check-out by two hours would have been much more effective. By the way, we might have been willing to even pay a day rate past that, but after the way you responded to a simple request, all we wanted to do was get out.
To Mark at Tires Plus … you rock! You were friendly, you were professional … you talked to us like human beings. You called us exactly when you said you would and delivered the less than wonderful news about our car in a way that made the news slightly less painful. Oh, and thank you so much for giving us the keys to your truck. Your generosity meant we had a way to get around town on a cold, rainy day, while waiting for the car to be fixed.
And last but most definitely not least, thank you Trista and the entire team at the brand new Cambria Suites & Conference Center in Fargo. First of all, your hotel is beautiful. But more importantly, your service is excellent. We felt it from the moment we walked in the doors on Friday. When I called you on Sunday from our hotel in Detroit Lakes to let you know what had happened and that we may not make it back in time for our 11 am check-out, you said all the right things. You empathized. You thanked me for letting you know and you told us that you would extend our check-out time. When we called back the next morning to let you know we would be much later than just a few hours, we were told again not to worry about it. When we finally arrived back at your hotel much, much, much later, you didn’t charge us anything extra even though you could have. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
As Chad and I drove the final 3.5 hours to get home after loading all our luggage and shopping bags into the car in Fargo, we realized once again just how significantly service professionals can impact their customer’s day. Don, Mark and Trista all helped make an unpleasant situation better. While we may never have the opportunity to ever call on Don or Mark again (in fact, I hope we don’t), we will always remember your kindness. There is one hotel in Detroit Lakes we will never go to and will discourage anyone we know from ever going to. On the other hand, we will absolutely go back to the Cambria Suites and Conference Center in Fargo. We will also recommend it anyone we know who needs a hotel in Fargo.
Customer service matters!