Thursday, February 10, 2011

Faultless @ Fairmont

I rush downstairs and open the conversation this way:

"First of all I want you to know there is an issue, it was totally my fault, but with the help of the hotel, I have it all taken care of".

It really was my mistake.

Or as the Led Zeppelin classic goes, "Nobody's Fault But Mine".

With my car in the shop, we had taken "her" car on the road for a speaking engagement to a national conference being held at the Fairmont Alqonquin in St. Andrews, NB. Overlooking historic Passamaquoddy Bay, this Tudor-style “Castle-by-the-Sea” has welcomed guests from all over the world since 1889.

We were soon to discover this isn't just any hotel.

From the moment we walked into this 122-year old establishment we were made to feel right at home. Justin at the front desk went above and beyond to make sure we were well looked after. Justin even dialed the only local pizza joint in this town of 1700just to make sure they stayed open late enough so we could grab some evening slices.

The next morning, a server named Steve spies me working on a laptop in the lobby. He graciously offers coffee. There was no charge. Steve was just being hospitable at 6:30 a.m. Another guest who was also served java in the same classy manner commented, "That young man will go far. It seems they do a great job of picking good people around here".

But the clincher was what happened with "her" car.

That late night chivalrous excursion for pizza in the midst of Wednesday's blizzard would provide for great drama the following morning. Not familiar with driving "her" car, I had forgotten to turn the lights off. As you might suspect the lights on my vehicle shut off automatically. But not so with "her" car.

That becomes an issue in sub-zero temperatures the next morning when faced with a dead battery, stuff you still need to get out of the car (and you can't because the remote key is dead as well) and you are about 20 minutes away from addressing a large group of delegates at a national conference.

At most hotels, this would be a real issue, but not at the Fairmont Algonquin.

"No problem Mr. Maxwell", they tell me at the front desk.

And then come the words that would make any customer swoon.

"Just leave us the keys and we'll get the car boosted while you are delivering your presentation".

Problem solved.

Hence my willingness to fall on the accountablity sword so quickly once "she" appeared.

But later, we discover another issue.

Seems that whoever it was that took care of the boosting operation also left the car running with the only set of keys still in it. With the doors locked.

But, once again the Fairmont Alqonguin folks were on top of it, arranging for a local locksmith to have the vehicle ready for our 12:30 departure deadline.

There aren't enough words in this blog post to convey the deep sense of thanks and appreciation we feel for the entire Fairmont Algonquin team. A sincere "thank you" is hereby extended to Justin, Steve, Heather and everyone connected at the Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews, N.B. for living way above and beyond the fault line when it comes to delivering customer service that legends are made of.

Truly, one of the most "seamless" brand experiences I have ever witnessed on the front lines of business.


"The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary"

p.s. ... "Nobody's Fault But Mine" just might be the song that best defines personal accountability. A traditonal blues number, the first known recording was made by blues-gospel guitarist Blind Willie Johnson somewhere around 1927.

Although the song has been covered by many artists over many decades, perhaps none more famously so by what you find on the album "Presence" from legendary rockers Led Zeppelin.

Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at and

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Pierre Martell said...


I was also served by Steve the previous night for dinner and "oh my god" this guy is going to work for me someday!!!! He truly treats the guest as if it's a small bistro and he's the owner.

PS. Gair most of the home builders were still talking about your presentation last night after the Gala, great job! Very engaging!

Lori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lori said...

INSPIRATION = the Fairmont Algonquin on Passamaquoddy Bay in St. Andrews NB, with Justin and Gair!

I too had a great experience with Justin and after he helped me at the front desk, I congratulated him on his award from the hotel.

Top marks for your inspiration hour at Habitation 2011.

Gair - you rock!

Shelby said...

I too had a fabulous stay at the Fairmont Algonquin. I needed extra hangers and a better blow dryer and voila - they appeared. I was missing my dog, and there was Smudge, the hotel's canine ambassador, who took me for a lovely walk around the grounds.