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Up, Bar!

The standard for customer service will never be the same.

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This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Recently I was asked to speak with a group of managers from a large hotel chain about the nature of competition in the changing commercial environment. For the exercise, I assumed the persona of a sales rep from St. Louis staying in a Hartford, Connecticut, property. Each of the hotel managers, by the way, was empowered to run their individual properties as though they owned them.

The challenge for the managers was complex. Within the larger context of the hotel's policy, financial expectations and performance guidelines, they had to "customize" my guest experience and make me think the entire chain revolved around my visit. I told them that, minimally, they should have a comprehensive log of my preferences from past visits (feather pillow, temperature pre-set at 72 degrees, etc.).

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