When was the last time you experienced awesome customer service? You know the kind I mean. The type of service that makes you rant and rave about the service you received.
One of my favorite Ken Blanchard books is called “Raving Fans”.
In this easy to read book that is told in the parable style, RAVING FANS uses a brilliantly simple and charming story to teach readers how to define vision and truly understand what a customer really wants. He also shares unique tips and innovative techniques that can help anyone create a revolution in any workplace–and turn their customers into raving fans.
In this easy to read book, the author reminds us that for any company to be successful, customer service must be one of our top priorities. Even though Blanchard’s book has been around for a number of years, the points that are made are still bang on.
One industry that really needs to embrace this is the travel industry. We all work hard for our dollars and when we do get a chance to go away on vacation, we certainly want it to be a memorable trip. It used to be that if you experienced bad service, you may just leave a bad comment when checking out and choose to never book that property again. Today, with the strength of social media and websites like Trip Advisor, the customer service the hotel industry provides to their guests can make or break them.
Over the March break this year, our family took a road trip to NC to visit family. Our first day started off a bit slow as we got tied up in rush hour traffic in Detroit and didn’t make it as far as we would have liked. Because the kids were hungry and tired, we decided to stop a bit short of our original destination and had to look long and hard to find a hotel that had two queen beds. Since we were exhausted, we finally settled on a hotel chain that was normally a good pick. Sadly, as it turned out, it probably would have been better to just drive through the night to our destination.
The room was smelly, the “queen” beds were lumpy and the walls were paper thin. We really didn’t get much sleep at all that night. When we went down at 8:30AM for the “free” breakfast, the breakfast bar was a mess and almost empty. The sign suggested if there was something that I needed, to just approach the front desk. After waiting for what seemed to be 5 minutes for the clerk to get off his cellphone with a buddy, I politely asked if we could get a few things replenished on the breakfast bar. With a big sigh he replied… “What is it that you want?” As he began refilling the fruit, juice, and pancake batter, he whisked the cornflakes and other items on the bar to the floor. We ended up just grabbing some fruit and a yogurt and packed up the car to head down to the local Denny’s. As I was checking out, I asked if he knew of any interesting places to take the kids to nearby, to which he replied…“no idea”. I was shocked.
Hmm… should I take the time to complete the comment card or will it just get tossed aside like the cornflakes off the breakfast bar? I grabbed a copy of the manager’s business card and have recently just decided to send him the link to this article. I’m reluctant to name the hotel chain as we have had very good experiences with the same chain in other locations. It was obvious that this hotel had some serious issues with maintenance, staff and their training.
Fast forward a month later when we were recently blown away by the incredible service we received on our trip to Dominican Republic. The trip was to celebrate a special anniversary with my wife Darlene, which is why we selected the Secret’s Royal Beach in Punta Cana.
The food was incredible…and the service was even better. Every staff member went out of their way to ensure that our holiday gave us many lasting memories. From start to finish, they really couldn’t do enough for us!
Turn down service didn’t just consist of fresh towels and folded over sheets, but each night we returned to find a decorated bed with fresh flowers and a topped up mini-bar. The true highlight of the week had to be receiving a note from concierge informing us that they had selected us to receive a complimentary cabana Oasis on the beach for the day with our own private butler. Talk about creating raving fans!
The afternoon before, we returned to our room from a long day at the beach to find a chilled bottle of champagne sitting next to the decorated Jacuzzi tub on the deck (rose pedals on the suds in the shape of the heart), a signed card from Alexis wishing us a happy anniversary!
Our servers by the pool all had incredible personalities. A waiter named, Angel quickly became one of our favorites as he always had something humorous to say each time he dropped off a drink (which was a few too many times). We felt privileged when he wanted to show us pictures of his family on our final day.
Don’t get me wrong, there was still room for improvement but the little extra things they did to make our stay more enjoyable far outweighed any of the minor flaws that the resort may have had. One thing was you could truly tell that every staff member felt it was a privilege to work there.
When you book a trip you expect your travel agent to find you the best rate and the nicest accommodations that you can afford. What you may not expect is the bottle of wine in your room when you get there or the thank you note you receive when you get home.
When you’re on vacation you expect the maid to tidy up your room and give you fresh towels. What you don’t expect is the wild flowers they left for you on your bed or the towel animals that they have created and left on your bed.
So how does all this fit into trucking? Well, you don’t have to own a hotel chain to create your own raving fans.
We have all heard the saying ‘it takes years to gain a customer, and seconds to lose one’. Clients, employees and drivers will remember the little extra things that you do to make them feel appreciated and if/when you do mess up, they are less likely to use that as the final straw that makes them leave. The service you provide is just as important as a hotel chain. How you treat your customers, drivers and staff on a daily basis can make or break your company. At the end of the day, people rarely remember what you said to them, they only remember how you made them feel.
About the Author
Glenn Caldwell is the Vice-President of Sales for NAL Insurance Inc. and Healthy Trucker both of London ON. For over 25 years, Glenn has worked closely with many fleets across the country to ensure their Owner/Operators have the protection they need to Keep Rollin’. You can reach him (800) 265 1657 (3350) firstname.lastname@example.org
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