It baffles me sometimes that some organizations consider marketing as one silo and the service experience as a second silo. In my books, the service experience is the single greatest form of marketing that an organization can employ. There is absolutely nothing that can justify separating them.
Yes, of course, I am speaking about the hands-on or face-to-face service experience… but I’m also speaking about the experience that your audiences have with your brand including online communications, query / complaint responsiveness, and social media.
Heed them all – for experience knows no bounds. That goes for negative experiences as well as positive ones.
Perhaps its time to revue, reevaluate, and reinvent the service experiences within your organization.
Case in point: IN MARKETING…Ignorance is not bliss.
Not long ago we did a series of Discovery Days workshops with a number of our hotel clients – two located in the GTA and two in Saskatchewan. Our experiences covered the full array: from total “indifference” to total “magnificence”.
You may be wondering…why would an article dedicated to marketing be talking about an experience at a hotel property? Well, not so fast buckaroos. Marketing, in the context of advertising programs, is all about bringing in the client opportunity. AND, it’s also got everything to do with working to make each and every client an ambassador for your property.
I’ll not go through the mathematical equation that quantifies the impact of word-of-mouth. Suffice it to say that I have told these stories, both positive and negative to over 300 people in a 4-month span. Do you think any of those 300 may have told a few people that they know as well? The experience has everything to do with marketing.
First Stop: Toronto
I pulled up to the front door and began unloading a number of boxes that I required for our scheduled Discovery Day. The bell captain nodded in my direction. I finished unloading and looked up, fully expecting to have the bell captain standing by my side. Not so. He propped open the front door and called out, “if you need a cart, there’s one inside”.
Second Stop: Saskatoon
There was a hotel van waiting for us at the airport and the driver, a hotel employee, escorted us from the airport directly to our room. He said, “welcome to our hotel. When you’re settled in, please drop by the front desk and sign your registration card.”
Third Stop: Regina
We pulled our rental car up to a designated curb indentation in front of the hotel and a bell captain immediately rushed out. Wow, I thought – western service is really impressive. I was wrong. “You can’t park here”, he told me. “But the sign says – for registering guests only” I replied as I was opening the trunk. “ OK” he said, “but you can’t unload here. You have to go into the parking garage next door – there should be baggage carts there.”
Last Stop: Toronto
I pulled into the round-about. Before the car had come to a stop, a bell captain was on his way. He opened my door. “Welcome” he said, “may I help with your baggage?” While he’s unloading the car he makes pleasant small talk and asks if I would like a valet to park my car; if I’ve stayed at the property before; and my name. We walked together to the front desk and the bell captain says to the young lady behind the counter “would you please register Mr. Abramson.” The clerk says, without a second of hesitation, “welcome back Mr. Abramson, it’s been a while since we last saw you, hasn’t it?” I responded with my best guess at the last time I was there – all the while wondering how she knew I was a returning guest. She hadn’t checked the computer and she certainly couldn’t have memorized the name of every guest that was scheduled to check in to this 400+ room hotel.
Now, I have heard of this service in a story that was told to me about the Ritz Carlton. (Their system is: bell captain tugs his left ear – returning guest; right ear – new guest.) But I had never experienced it. Let me assure you…the experience is magnificent.
I’ve not only told the story hundreds of times but I have personally been responsible for recommending this property to two of our own clients. One required approximately 350 room nights, and the other was hosting a gala dinner for 500. Both booked at the property.
Let’s face it…the guest will have an experience with you / your business one way or another. One of indifference; one of neutrality (which is only marginally better than
indifference); or one of magnificence.