There’s an old saying – at least I hope it’s still a saying, ‘You only get one chance to make a first impression.’
It’s the premise, albeit somewhat misguided perhaps, behind the retail greeter.
“Welcome to Wally-World, thank you for coming.”
It’s also behind the root principal of consistency in service and hospitality.
If a visitor to any given hotel finds visibly dirty towels, or that their feet stick to the floors the decision may fall to whether or not to even stay the first night.
When dining out, dirty utensils or disinterested waitstaff can be the death knell.
If portions and recipes vary widely from day to day, disappointment is sure to follow.
Protocols are the friends here, not the fiends. BUT when those SOPs get in the way of common sense and good service they will always cross the line.
Staff needs to be empowered to bend or flex, lest the customers be moved to cross the line themselves from clients to critics.
In an era when patrons are constantly bombarded with requests for feedback, that line is likely to be crossed with increased frequency. As such, it behooves providers to provide the best possibly customer experience the first time and every time.
Over dinner recently, a friend in broadcast media and I found ourselves faced with a server – rigid in her enforcement of a ‘no substitutions’ policy to the point of absurdity.
The pub in which we should have enjoyed an easy meal over which we talked business became instead the focus of much of our discussion. When the bill arrived, we laughed at the tab, basically padded to nearly twice its natural size through abusive up-charges.
As influencers in this market we each committed to simply not recommend the place to ensure our friends and followers couldn’t blame us for similarly disappointing experiences. It was a passive aggressive decision, certainly. But from this position we have each been moved as questions about this new place are unavoidable and honesty remains among the best policies out there.
There’s no substitution for earnest, honest hospitality.
Reach out, if I can be of any assistance.