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April 19, 2014 Blog 1 min read

One of our Marketing team members recently attended the Great Place to Work (GPTW) Conference, held two weeks ago in New Orleans. This annual event teaches, inspires, and connects professionals across industries and functions to strengthen workplace culture. It’s always a feel-good event full of best practices and stories of people and workplaces at their best, but there was one story that really stood out to her. I thought I’d share it here.

One of the breakout sessions featured Mike DeFrino, Chief Operating Officer of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. His session, titled “Let the Inmates Run the Asylum,” focused on how Kimpton has created a “culture of compassion” as a gateway to staff empowerment. Then DeFrino shared this story to demonstrate that empowerment in action.

One of Kimpton’s bellhops was escorting a family of four and their luggage up to their room. While in the elevator, one of family’s two little girl’s remarked, “I wonder if Speedy will be there waiting for us?” Now, Kimpton has a couple of divisions within its company. One of them has a practice of allowing guests to take a goldfish up to their room as a companion during their stay. This particular hotel, however, didn’t have that amenity, so there was one fact the bellhop was certain of: no way was Speedy going to be in that room.

He pulled the parents aside and explained, and they assured him that it wasn’t a big deal. Still, the disappointment on those girls’ faces urged him into action. While the family was at dinner, he went to one of Kimpton’s sister properties, obtained a goldfish, and placed it in the family’s room with a note: “Sorry I wasn’t here when you arrived. Love, Speedy.”

What an inspiring story! Oftentimes, I’m asked how being one of FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” translates to client service. It’s this—right here. That bellhop was acting on his own gut instinct based on the culture of compassion that Kimpton has successfully created. It’s just one of many examples of how client service really is a byproduct of a great corporate culture. Fortunately, we, too, have lots of great stories like this.

How about you? Does your culture empower you to go above and beyond? Do you have an inspiring client/customer service story to share? We’d love to hear it!