Customer Service Inside of A Tornado

Unfortunately, I was in  Chattanooga, Tennessee yesterday with a client during the tornado disaster that racked the southeastern part of the United States on Thursday.  It is now being reported that 288 people died, and a million people are without power.

While I was called into a tornado shelter many times yesterday, one experience stands out.  Right before dinner, the alarms went off at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in downtown Chattanooga.  We were instructed to come to go into the hallway away from the windows or to go to the basement of the hotel.  I know I am from Chicago, but I had seen tornado movies before!  Besides earlier in the day, I had seen it rain sideways!  I grabbed by iPad and iPhone and headed down the stairs.  What I found in the basement shocked me!

I was greeted by very friendly and helpful Marriott staff directing us where to go and what to do.  One staff member even started to give us a tour to anyone who had never seen "the operational side of a hotel"!  I think this was especially comforting to the 50 6th graders who were on a field trip and staying at the hotel.  They even served drinks and beer (over 21 only!). The amazing part was that there was free WiFi in the basement.  I promptly FaceTimed (video call) with my son so I could show him what was going.  People were mostly texting and using their phones anyways.

The customer service inside this potential disaster amazed me! Sometimes, the worst situations can bring out the best opportunities for great service!

About the Author:

Barry Moltz gets business owners unstuck by unlocking their long forgotten potential. With decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures, he has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners and increasing their sales. Barry has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 20 years. After successfully selling his last operating business, Barry founded an angel investor group, an angel fund, and is a former advisory member of the board of the Angel Capital Education Foundation. His first book, “You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business” describes the ups and downs and emotional trials of running a business. His second book, “Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success”, shows what it takes to come back and develop true business confidence. His third book, “BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World” shows how customer service is the new marketing. His fourth book, “Small Town Rules: How Small Business and Big Brands can Profit in a Connected Economy” shows how when every customer can talk to every other customer, it’s like living in a small town: Your reputation is everything! His fifth book, “How to Get Unstuck: 25 Ways to Get Your Business Growing Again” helps every small business owners move their company to the next level. Barry is a nationally recognized speaker on small business who has given hundreds of presentations to audiences ranging in size from 20 to 20,000. As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he has appeared on many TV and radio programs such as CNBC’s The Big Idea, and MSNBC’s Your Business. He hosts his own radio show on AM560, and writes for American Express and Forbes.


  1. Steph April 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Good story! It is good to see grace and generosity under pressure. A lot of industries could learn from hospitality. I have written on Ritz's approach and others' here:

  2. Barry May 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks Steph!

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