Marketing expert, George Torok helps businesses gain an unfair marketing advantage over the competition. A bestselling author, he consults with business owners and is available for speaking engagements. Power Marketing is a registered trademark.
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Customer Service at the Hotel Makes or Breaks Them
We were fed up with the hotel. We had held two full-day seminars
there. The third seminar was already arranged but we were planning to go
elsewhere next time.
The meeting rooms were better than average. The location was
convenient. The lobby was attractive. The lunches were superb. And the price
was competitive. But we were planning to move our business and were even willing
to pay more, because we were unhappy.
Have you noticed that unhappy customers are willing to pay
more elsewhere? That’s an important marketing lesson.
Our contact person was usually difficult to reach and correspond
with. She was either “on the phone”, “in a meeting”, or “not in”. She seldom
returned our first call. She also seemed to often overlook our email. We
followed up with her so many times that we wondered if they really wanted our
We were not a huge account but we had shown that we could be
a regular client, (two or three times a year). And we always paid promptly.
On the day of the seminars the contact person did not show up
to greet us or even check on things. In fact the only staff who came to the
room were the serving staff. They were efficient but not very friendly. No
representative from the hotel checked in with us at any time to see if things
were okay or if there were any changes.
After the meeting, there was no call from the hotel to ask
for feedback or thank us for our business.
At the previous meeting, the serving staff had removed the
sandwiches along with the desserts immediately after lunch. I thought that
strange because some people like to have their dessert snack a little after
lunch. I also like to have a sandwich at the end of the day because I'm usually
famished after a full day of conducting a seminar.
Lucky for the hotel something changed. They got rid of the
old and hired new people.
Amazing how that can change the customer experience!
The new contact person was cheery and easy to connect with.
She came looking for us early in the day to introduce herself and welcome us.
She appeared later to check on our needs and experience.
When we broke for lunch 30 minutes early, the chef rushed to
provide our sandwiches and wraps. And they were superb.
When lunch was done, the server asked if we wanted the
leftover sandwiches and wraps. “Yes, that would be nice.” was our reply.
“Well you paid for them so I’ll package them all up for
They nicely packaged up all the leftover lunch and desserts
in ‘take out' trays.
Instead of making us feel like thieves for having a sandwich
later or taking a dessert home – they made us feel special by packaging it all
up for us like presents.
So guess what? We plan to go back to this hotel for our next
Here’s the marketing lesson for you: If you are in the
service business – nothing trumps customer service when it comes to keeping
Before you spend a dollar on advertising and branding –
ensure that you have the right people with the right attitude. That includes
your management, because a good service culture starts with them.
Once your have the right people, provide them with the
training, leadership and rewards to deliver superior customer service.
If you do that, you will save a fortune on advertising and
branding because your customers don’t care about that. The only people that
care about your advertising and branding are those in your marketing
Your customers care about service. Customers are funny that