There are some divine ironies about my work. One is my obsession with customer service, customer experience and customer journeys. I end up speaking to companies in so-called posh hotels about the customer experience and usually the hotel just gets it all wrong.
As my Mum says, “one star service, one star problems; five star service, five star problems”.
I’ve just come back from keynoting at a conference on ‘Customer is King’ at a very fancy conference centre, spa and hotel. (The book title was brilliantly original when I wrote it way back when, but sometimes the phrase “Customer is King” feels like it has become an empty management platitude.)
Anyhow, I find it hard to believe that a particular 5* hotel can get their strategy so wrong.
My point today:
The smaller stuff is nearly always a replica of the bigger stuff, whether good or bad. In this hotel the smaller stuff was adrift. The bigger stuff was a nightmare…
20 minutes to check in because their printer was not working
reception insisting my name is Pete Tomlinson (?)
no paper towels in the Gents
hand dryer not working in the Gents
curtain in conference room broken
sweet wrappers from previous event still on floor
coffee, tea and hot water jugs unlabelled
staff bitching in front of me while I wait for a taxi
reception telling me there was no conference for ABC Company being held at the hotel
nuts in the “nut-free salad”
prawns in the vegetarian option
warm white wine
and my favourite detail of the day, the compulsory someone else’s pubic hair in my bath
The list is endless. And this was just the small stuff.
I would like to highlight the following:
The small stuff usually contains the same DNA as the bigger stuff (it did in this case) after all the same people designed both processes and employed and trained the same staff
Customer service is about mindset, great people and great systems – doesn’t feel like it should be that difficult
There is a direct correlation between great customer service and customer loyalty and profit (email me for the evidence)
The hard thing about customer service isn’t knowing what it is – that’s the simple bit. The hard thing about customer service is doing it all the time.
A few final questions: