I was staying at the Radisson Edwardian in Manchester recently, and something happened that affected my perception of the hotel.
I’d put some clothing in for dry cleaning in the morning, and when I returned to my room later, I was greeted with this card on the bed.
The card stated that I had to go back downstairs to reception (having just come upstairs from there), pay the bill for the dry cleaning, and then bring it all the way upstairs with me.
Now what I found a bit ridiculous about this is that I had already paid for my room up front, and given a ‘holding deposit’ of significantly more than the bill for the dry cleaning.
Added to the fact that I am a Club Carlson Concierge member (the highest level possible of their loyalty scheme – therefore they normally look after you well), so I thought it was a bit daft to want me to go back to where I had just been, pay a bill they already had my money for, and then come upstairs again!
Now I know what you’re thinking! ‘Oh Andy, what a first-world problem!’ But I’m not complaining about the note (although it was a little annoying at the time), I’m talking about it as an example to learn from, from a sales and service point of view!
When you look at the example set by the Park Inn Foreshore in Cape Town, another member of their loyalty club, you’d expect the Radisson to deliver a higher level of service, right? You’d be wrong on this occasion
What would it have taken for the housekeeping service (that handles the laundry and dry cleaning) to have checked with their colleagues on the front desk (reception) and found out if they had taken a holding deposit (for greater than the dry cleaning bill) or not?
Would it have really taken that long? Would it have been that difficult? And if they HAD (and had taken the dry cleaning to my room), would I have had a POSITIVE experience with them, rather than the NEGATIVE one that I’m now talking about? Of course!
So what Sales Lessons can we learn from the Raddison in Manchester?……
This happens in ANY sales/buying process where there are a number of vendors involved. The buyer looks to count people OUT, rather than count people IN.
Having started my career as a professional buyer, and because a lot of my work is based on buying psychology – how people make buying decisions – this is something that comes up a lot.
If we as buyers have a lot of choice of potential supplier, we are ‘harsher’ on individual suppliers than we would be otherwise. If we have 10 potential suppliers for example, we are looking to get that down to 5, or possibly even 3, as quickly as possible.
Therefore we look at the options, and scan proposal documents, tenders or whatever you have sent us, in order to look for things that would count people OUT of the opportunity, therefore leaving us to choose from ideally no more than 3 ‘preferred’ vendors.
Also be aware that in the buyers eyes, a bad experience will trump a few good experiences. I stay with Radisson group hotels regularly (usually Radisson, Park Inn and Park Plaza) all over the world. And I have great experiences in almost of them, the majority of the time!
I’ve even had good experiences at Manchester before. One of the cool things they do is give you a suit carrier, branded Radisson of course, when you have your suit dry cleaned with them. A nice touch!
But that’s often overpowered by a bad experience – in this case, the dry cleaning example above.
Now, as I said above it’s not really that big a problem. And I had bigger problems to deal with on that particular day. But it was frustrating enough to have an impact. Plus, it was a good example to use for this article!
So, have a think about what you currently do in your sales and service process – and are you giving the opportunity for one bad experience to undo all your work with creating good ones?
In my Sales Training seminars and Sales Speeches, I often talk about what I call the ‘Experience Stack’.
What I mean by this is that experiences stack on top of each other. A good experience adds to the ‘good experience’ stack, and a bad experience adds to the ‘bad experience’ stack (and potentially knock down the good experience one).
What that means in practical terms is that if the prospect/customer has had one bad experience with you – even if it was only a small thing, like the dry cleaning in this example – they will be far more annoyed with their next bad experience, than if the 2nd one had occurred in isolation.
So in the hotel context, someone who had the ‘dry cleaning’ experience above would be far more likely to complain if their food wasn’t as good as it should be, rather than if the food had been the only thing wrong.
So, what can you and your team start to do to build the ‘good experience’ stack for your customers and prospects, and minimise the ‘bad experience’ one?….