I don’t teach customer service training, as I once did. But I still have a high appreciation of service well delivered – and a distaste for service that misses the mark.
This week, my family and I were returning from a wandering road trip through Anacortes, Port Townsend and Seattle when we chose a well-known resort for our final night.
I can usually tell by the phone reception I get when I call to book a room what I can expect when I actually walk through the doors. And it wasn’t sounding good. While not unfriendly, the tone over the phone was business-like and lacking the pleasantries I expect from an upscale resort like this one.
When we arrive it was patently clear that the reception desk staff had also been trained to value efficiency over creating good first impressions. I had the feeling that I was being rushed through the check-in process – even though I was the only one in line – with rushed instructions like “Elevators down the hall-check out is at 11-enjoy your stay.”
Still, expecting that all would be well once in our room, we marched on.
Our econo-style room probably wasn’t actually lacking anything essential (I’m sure everything was checked on the check list) – except for the impression that anyone cared. All that was needed to change our mood was a simple welcome note (with an actual signature), a quick phone call from front desk staff, the heat turned on, bedtime chocolates or a complimentary bottle of water to take to the spa. Instead, it felt like we had arrived at a road-side motel – not bad, but also not great.
Great first impressions don’t have to be expensive or complicated – but you do need to think in terms of what your customer really values. When I’m on the phone to your business I want to be greeted by someone who seems keen to get my business – not by a humorless robot that can’t spell ‘Vancouver’. And when I’m checking into a hotel I want you to take the time to tell me where the gym is, how the HiFi works and where to get an early morning cup of tea. In those moments, speed is not a measure of success.
Whether you received great service today from a company or sub-standard delivery it’s a good reminder to look at your own standards. Jan Carlzon’s Moments of Truth model still holds true – every contact with your customer is a chance for them to evaluate you and (more importantly) for you to make them want to come back for more.
During our one-night stay, the only thread of a human touch I could find was a large, slightly sarcastic, hand-written note behind the concierge’s desk that read “Weather?….look outside.”Tagged with: accountability • business • business growth • customers • effectiveness • entrepreneurs • goals • impressions • service • small stuff • travel