Sandwiched neatly between Christmas and New Year was a day when my husband, Paul and I weren’t hurtling around the country to see friends and relatives, and given the start of the year will involve hospitals, anaesthetics and scalpels we decided to take ourselves off to a 4 star hotel and have a little quality us time.
I’m not going to tell you about the ”welcome” we got, the problems we had with lunch or the dirty towel on the bed when I had an expensive facial. It was our time and we were determined to enjoy it.
But one incident is really worth thinking about, it shows why customer service is important. For those of you who have been on one of our courses, it illustrates perfectly being in your own world rather than the customer’s world.
Here’s what happened when I asked for afternoon tea, on a menu marked “served 10.00 a.m. – 10 p.m.”
Me: “Could it be vegetarian please?”
Waiter: Long pause when I started to wonder if I still had the mask from the facial on the end of my nose. I looked at Paul for reassurance and thought I’d make it easier by suggesting ”some cheese or egg sandwiches?”
Waiter: (was still staring at me) “ it’s just that I’m not sure what we’d do for a vegetarian”
Me: “how about egg or cheese?” (Asking myself didn’t I just say that?)
Waiter: “I’ll have to check with the chef”
Me: “That’s great”
Waiter: “If they can’t do an afternoon tea what would you like instead”
Me: “A Sandwich and a pot of tea”
Waiter: “What would you like in your sandwich?”
Me: “Egg or cheese would be great”
Some time later the waiter returns from the kitchen,
Waiter: “Hi, We’re not doing afternoon tea, so would you like a roasted vegetable sandwich?”
Me: “Well, I had lunch here, and I had roasted vegetables for lunch, could you do me (have you been paying attention here ? perhaps a (hopefully you’ve guessed it) a cheese and tomato or an egg sandwich”
Waiter: “I need to check with chef”
Five minutes later
Waiter: “Can you order something else…… we’ll have to boil eggs if you want an egg sandwich”
Now it was my turn to stare.
We cancelled the order, and checked out of the hotel (not having stayed the night).
When checking in I had mentioned to the receptionist, that we were looking to run some training courses at a hotel in the first quarter of the year and could I check out the conference facilities. The more astute among you may recognise that as a buying signal. Her reply was “yes that should be OK”
The day rate at that hotel is £170 and given that we were looking for a three night rate for up to ten people for our How to manage telemarketing campaigns and write telemarketing dialogues course. One course could generate the hotel income of £5,100.
This doesn’t take into consideration any repeat business or recommendations that may have followed had the service been what we wanted.
So that is the tale of how not boiling an egg lost the hotel at least £5,100.
The most interesting thing for me was that despite a clear signal that I wanted to look at the conference facilities, no one followed through with that. Now the receptionist may have thought she wasn’t in sales, but isn’t everyone?
That’s why customer service is important.
How many people are trying to do business with your company right now?
Then you’ll see why customer service is important, because even in tough times, customers still want to spend.
Make the most of every opportunity – it will help grow your brand and your business.
Talk through how to give your staff an understanding of the importance of customer service. Call us now on 0845 450 0988.