I stayed in a new hotel during a recent business trip. I had stayed in it previously when it was operating under a different name. It was physically refreshed and had an air of “new” from the moment you walked in.
When I was walking to my room I noticed some interesting signs on the walls:
The note beside the coffee machine reads:
while the note beside the face cloths reads:
The writing paper was only one page, so I asked the housekeeping staff for another one as well:
And even the door hangers had unique sayings:
And finally, how about this attention grabbing headline from the menu doorhanger:
I love this stuff! Give me more!
Except…I was disappointed in the overall experience because it did not live up to these tasty tidbits of brilliance.
While the staff seemed mostly nice, there were some odd behaviours. For example:
- walking into the restaurant at breakfast, the host simply asked for our free breakfast card…not even a cheery “good morning”
- the young server who tidied up our dirty dishes made two trips and never said a word. As we walked past her towards the exit she said “have a good day” but rather solemnly
- the young lad pushing a room service cart down the hallway stopped to let us go past, but he had his head down and didn’t acknowledge us with any type of greeting
- several of the servers in the restaurant, most patrons had the buffet and didn’t need a server except to take away dirty dishes, never said a word to anyone
There is a brand disconnect. And since a brand is the sum of all experiences you have with a product or company, and most importantly what you say about the product or company when they are not in the room, this brand gets a “D” because of this inconsistency. If someone in the marketing team has created all the wonderful messages, it is incumbent on the leadership to make sure the tone of the messages is lived throughout the guest experience.
Perhaps a Westjet flight crew can be brought in to demonstrate enthusiasm. But, only if this is the type of image you want to present to customers and anyone else you deal with.
So, how does your total customer experience stack up? Here is a quick 5-point checklist to help you get started:
- Do you have a “brand bible” that describes what your values are? And does this also describe the tone and expectation that you have for any interaction? The Summa Health organization did a remarkable job of creating a “Standards of Behavior Handbook” that describes exactly what all the expectations are. Most importantly, the employees drove the creation of this tool.
- Do all employees understand how they fit within this brand expectation and how their day-to-day responsibilities contribute to this desired image?
- How often do you audit all your messaging for consistency? I mean all your messaging – from how guests are greeted at reception to how the late payment notice is worded. Perhaps a “secret shopper” can be employed to conduct an objective assessment to “help you see yourself real.”
- Do you have input from all employees or is it a top-down process. I highly recommend that you include the people with the vast majority of customer contacts or leadership runs the risk of seeing things only from the corner office. This view is often not close to the real world.
- Do you ask your customers what they think of you? After all, without customers you have no business.
Diligence and focus are requirements to a building and growing a great brand. The brand is so much more than a logo or tag line. It is the essence of everything that the company does for their customers – tangible and intangible actions.
ATD – Attention to Detail – can help you live the brand as you want to be seen.
Cute phrases on their own will not create the brand you want.
RIP TJ – you were a tenacious competitor with a big heart.