Lost and Found

Posted by on Jun 23, 2011 | 2 Comments

“Hey! Keyser Soze!”

The guest at the other end of the bar shouts towards me.  He’s referencing a conversation the entire bar was having earlier that led into someone trying to describe Gabriel Byrne, and ultimately referenced the film, The Usual Suspects.  I’m a huge fan of Kevin Spacey, so naturally I jumped into the fray.

“What are you working on?” He calls out.

This happens often to me: Guests are curious about what I’m doing with a notebook and a name tag – it’s a great opener for striking up a conversation.  It leads to a description of the Pfister Narrator position, handing out of business cards, and so on and so forth.  The guest, a young man here on business, lights up and becomes quite animated when introducing his co-workers (nearly all of whom, it seems, he’s roomed with for one conference or another and subsequently has plenty of laugh-out-loud stories to share).  They come here regularly and he’s stayed here seven times.  “This is the best hotel in Milwaukee.  I love it here.  I just wish you guys had a pool.”

It’s my turn to light up.  “You don’t know about the pool?  It’s on the 23rd floor, right by Blu, I wrote a blog post about it!”

We apologize to the co-workers for our abrupt departure, and head off to the elevator to check it out.  He’s so excited to find the pool, he doesn’t have time to put down his drink.

I know I was just as excited to find something at the Pfister: a coat I’d previously lost.  I had recently stayed a night, and left my favorite spring coat in the room.  When I called the next morning, I described the item to someone at the front desk, who cross-checked with security and provided me with a number I could use to retrieve my item.  The number started with an ‘F’ for ‘Found.’  While it took me a few weeks to remember to pick it up, when I did, it was quick and easy.  It arrived, folded neatly in a square, wrapped in a plastic dry-cleaning bag.  If only all lost and founds were this organized!

A regular guest (the kind who walks up to the bar and gets greeted by the bartender by name, with great enthusiasm, and remembrance of a preferred beverage) told me this story about a watch.  After a brief stay at the Pfister, he found himself in Texas before he realized his gold watch was missing. After careful consideration, he called the hotel, figuring it was the only place he would have left it.  Sure enough, they had found it in his room.  A few weeks later, he picked it back up.  The strange thing was that before it was “lost and found” it was always stopping and starting at random, but ever since he retrieved it, it has worked perfectly!

Of course, the hotel isn’t only good at finding physical items that have been lost, but are also adept at helping lost people find their way to wherever it is they are trying to head.  Earlier in the evening, two young men came striding in through the doors, beelining for the lobby bar.

“Is there a place nearby called Flannigan’s?”

Joni, the super friendly bartender chirps, “Oh?  You mean Flannery’s?” and promptly offers swift directions.  The young man, in jeans, untucked button-down shirt and backwards baseball cap asks “Is it, like, casual?  Am I okay dressed like this?”  She assures him he’s fine and he and his friend jet off to hit up this Cathedral Square favorite.

As Isaac Asimov once said, “The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.”  And, what true delight there is in finding things at the Pfister, whether or not you knew you were looking for them.

  • Rebecca

    BUT, if the lost and found is really that great, why didn’t they call the last guest in the room with the gold watch, the coat, etc to let them know that it was left in the room. That would truly be exceptional customer service.

    • Hi Rebecca!

      It’s true, that would be truly exceptional customer service. And, in fact, the Pfister’s Lost & Found system is incredibly well-organized. Everything found gets sent to one location and the item is tagged with a unique number, and an ‘F’ for ‘found’, and the description logged into the computer. If it was found in a guest room, that information is pulled up and the guest is contacted. Voila! Match made! If an item is called in as lost, but there’s nothing matching it in the system, it’s logged in with a number and ‘L’ for – you guessed it – ‘lost.’ Real people deal with the items, too, and scan the lists for similar descriptions of things that the computer might not have matched up.

      Of course, if an item is left randomly someplace else in the hotel, there’s nobody to call. In my case, I called them after I realized I’d left my coat behind and happened to call right after they logged it into the system. They’d not even had a chance to contact me yet. The gentleman, with the watch, a regular guest, was out of the country and unreachable until he returned to the states, but made his realization while away and called the hotel to confirm they had found the item.

      And, accidentally in keeping with the theme of the post, I lost your comment somewhere in the archives of the blog hosting site and had to find it again! I’m glad I did, though, and got to give a little more of a peek into the great lengths the Pfister goes through to offer such wonderful customer service.

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