Recently I read an HBR blog titled: Creating a Positive Professional Image. That and a recent hotel experience made me wonder whether your firm is creating a consistent positive professional image.

Over the last two weeks, I spent three nights each week in two hotels of a well known upscale hotel chain. My experience could not have been more different.

The hotel in the first city is only about a year old. It is luxurious and very modern. The rooms are large and my only challenge was to figure out the high tech on and off switches for lights, curtains and television. In the bathroom, a flat screen television was built into the mirror.

The ambience was impressive, but the service was even more impressive. When my cab arrived at the front door a bellman opened my door and retrieved my luggage. He welcomed me by name while calling the front desk to let them know I was there. He learned I was on the executive club level and escorted me all the way up to that floor. When we arrived, the person at the desk greeted me with a smile, and handed my key to me. When I told her I would come back to the lounge to get some sparkling water, the bellman offered and took by bags to my spacious room. My experience at the hotel was remarkable. Each night the executive level desk person greeted me by name, with a smile and asked if she could help in any way.

The next week I stayed for three nights in another city. To be kind, I would say the hotel is “dated.”

When I arrived no one met me at the door. I was left on my own to figure out how to get to the executive floor. After I checked in and went to my room, I saw an envelope with another guest’s name on it. I called the executive floor guest to make sure I had the right room. I was told that the guest had checked in to a different room. I soon figured out why.

When I looked around the incredibly small room, I discovered that the bed was about chest high. In all my years I have never had to leap just to get into bed and then worry about getting out of it in the middle of the night. The club level advised me the mattresses were new and they needed to “cut down” the legs of the bed.

During the night I discovered that no matter how high I set the temperature, there was cold air coming from the fan. The next morning when I made coffee and discovered the hot water never made it to the pot. Picture my challenge getting the top of the coffee pot full of hot water and a floating coffee envelope to the sink. Oh, I forgot to tell you that the bathroom was so small, I had to close the door to be able to stand at the sink.

I was surprised that the level of service was not up to the standards of the hotel the week before. I never saw a smile on the face of a staff member. I can’t remember anyone saying: “Can I help you?” It was a strange experience to say the least.

In contrast when I stay in Ritz Carlton hotels, the ambience is upscale whether the hotel was built last year, or several years ago.  More importantly, the service is extraordinary and consistent.

Does your firm have more than one office? If so, is the ambience and level of service extraordinary and consistent? If, not your clients will tell stories pointing out the differences.