“Many times it is possible to turn a problem into an opportunity by re-thinking the situation from the perspective of improved guest Xperience” - Violet ClareRead More
Sometimes even the best attempts to achieve excellent customer service go wrong.
Florida is blessed with an abundance of insects. Because of this, most innkeepers stay vigilant with their pest control services. The goal is generally to make sure that no insects are found inside your hotel property.
The absence of experience IS the desired experience
A Florida B&B had its regular pest control treatment. Some new guests checked in before the innkeeper had the chance to verify that no insect wildlife had crawled out and died in the rooms in plain sight. Luckily, the guests were at a meeting, so the innkeeper, dressed in comfy flannel pajamas went upstairs to check.
Right as the innkeeper got up the stairs, she heard "beep beep beep" of the front door key entry. She thought about hiding in a spare room, but had no phone with her to call her partner for a rescue. Since it sounded like the guests were having trouble remembering their codes, she made a run for it down the stairs.
Then disaster struck - the guests got in the door - just in time to find the innkeeper dressed in PJ’s mid descent on the stairs. She then heard
"Dang - we heard this place had awesome amenities, but we had no idea it came with women".
Mortified, she had nothing else to do but say, "You caught me"
While this experience was certainly memorable to the guests, it did not meet the absence of experience requirement. How could this situation have been avoided to create a different guest experience ?
Mark rooms out of service until all verification has been done, or
Dress in something other than Pajamas when guests are in the house
So what is the POTY training mentality? Well, POTY is an acronym for “Program Of The Year,” a scenario most of us have experienced more than once. A company will embrace an old and/or new concept or philosophy like The One Minute Manager, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Who Moved My Cheese, or FISH!, just to name a few oldies. These were and are great programs. The problem is, companies spend a gazillion dollars putting employees through new programs and they get people all jazzed, but the enthusiasm is just temporary. Within months of the training, people seem to forget everything they were excited about and before we know it, it’s “business as usual.”
There are two things we can do to help eliminate the POTY Training Mentality:
Ensure that the leadership team models the desired behaviors; and
Put into place a method for continuous reinforcement of the lessons learned.
Creating a great Customer Xperience is not a static process. It is not something you can develop, put in place and then move on to the next project. Instead, it is a moving target. Change is a constant. Our existing customers have ever-changing needs and hopefully, our customer base is growing, making our mix of customers and their needs more and more diverse. What does all this mean? It means that we need processes to address the moving target.
Many companies do customer surveys and focus groups in an attempt to identify the needed changes. And that’s good. However, your employees who interact with customers are also a great resource for identifying possible improvement opportunities. These are the individuals who know first hand what frustrates your customers; what your customers like and what they dislike. All too often, this valuable information is not captured because employees don’t feel empowered enough to communicate the issues to the decision makers who can lead the necessary change.
Don’t allow your greatest resource for understanding customer issues to go untapped. Eliminate the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality and challenge service providers to offer their ideas for improvement.