The panic is over everyone – I have strong evidence today that the hard economic times & business decline that has certainly been experienced in the hospitality industry over the last 12-18 months is most certainly a thing of the past. For one particular hotel brand, it must be seeing such growth on their top line sales & profits, they no longer see the need to fiercely fight to keep customers or even take cash from them!
So, how did I come to this conclusion I hear you ask? Well, it all became clear to me whilst I sat waiting to meet with a business associate in a hotel lounge in Solihull this afternoon. Now if you’re an honest kind of person, you’ll probably admit that the economy has certainly not recovered and it is as still as hard as ever to attract new business, to keep business, and every sale counts to your daily business survival. However today I witnessed hotel staff displaying actions that would send company owner’s blood boiling!
On arrival I had no worries of trying to find a vacant seat in the hotel coffee lounge – in fact there was plenty to choose from. No noise from business delegates, no screaming kids enjoying the last days of freedom before being returned to a life of education next week – the lounge was pretty deserted, as was there large bar attached to the hotel. Customers seemed far and few between, even with their prime location on a very busy main ‘A’ road.
The bar/servery in the lounge was unmanned on arrival, so I just took a seat in the corner and browsed the drinks menu that was prominently placed on all tables. Whilst I was thinking whether I should go for a skinny, mocha-chocca Americano latte with double cream (you get my drift) or a standard cup of tea, the menus were swiftly taken away from the tables from someone who I will refer to as ‘Claire’ (as that was her name!) – and someone in my opinion who should NEVER have been allowed to work in hospitality!
Remember I was sitting in a public COFFEE LOUNGE (as signposted) in a HOTEL (which as far as I am aware offer refreshments 24 hours a day in this country). So why when I and 2 other customers who arrived asked for a coffee, were we delivered a very stern, surprising and rude response of “Sorry we are closed in here”. ‘Claire’ had obviously had an extremely bad day – for whatever reason – but it was evident that she knew where she wanted to be, and what she wanted to be doing – and that was NOT AT THE HOTEL SERVING CUSTOMERS. She bluntly told me that I could order from her round the corner at the Bar and that I would “Need to pay straight away”. I admit, I’m bald and therefore look like a bit like a Mitchell Brother (in a smart suit), so fair enough for not trusting me (although there are ways to perhaps go about these things!).
Now not to bore you anymore with further conversations and comments from ‘Claire’– All I can say is that not at any stage were guests made to feel respected or wanted at the hotel – Now I don’t expect red carpet treatment – just a simple, courteous welcome, and pleasant service. I decided to tweet to the Hotel Twitter Account to let them know things perhaps weren’t as they would expect in their Lounge – but unfortunately received no reply from this – Twitter and Social Media Sites are there for INTERACTION with your customers, suppliers and potential clients – So why ignore messages? #EpicFail
Three Coffees later, it was time to leave – so I went to settle the bill (as I was eventually trusted with a tab in the end). Our friend ‘Claire’ was nowhere to be seen – and so her colleague was there to serve me. I stated everything we had drunk, but unfortunately nothing had been rung in the till – so there was no record – and because the particular bar had been closed – the till had been cashed up! I was calmly told not to worry about it – and the coffees were on the house – and so we left without paying a penny! #EpicFail2 HOW, HOW, HOW is this possible!!?? I cannot believe ANY company can afford to do this nowadays? I am still amazed.
So, to the questions that need to be asked?
How many ‘Claire’s’ do you have in your business?
Can you really afford to continue employing a ‘Claire’ in your business, to damage your brand, lose legitimate customers & miss out on daily takings?
Can you afford not to respond to your customers when they interact with you on social media?
Time to think – Perhaps time to send on someone undercover to see what is really happening at your business. You might be surprised at basic fails in your daily business.
Thanks for reading.