Monday, June 30, 2014

What Being on Vacation Taught Me About Business


I just came back from a real vacation!  I worked hard and pre-planned everything so I was able to actually go “laptop free” the entire week!  (Read more on the “8 Easy Tips” that helped me accomplish this here). 


That doesn’t mean that business didn’t cross my mind ~ something I am sure every entrepreneur understands.  Mainly I wondered what work would be waiting for me when I got back.  


But as the week went on, I found that I was really able to focus on fun and relaxation....and I loved it.


Now that I am ready to get back into the swing of things, I find myself reflecting on the past week.  Interestingly, I discovered things that I can use to help me with my business.


And number one is that Great Customer Service rules!


I was lucky enough to stay in a truly wonderful resort in Orlando, Florida.  This hotel knew how to treat their guests.


From the moment of check-in until we got in the cab to return to the airport, I felt valued.  

The resort staff ~ from housekeeping, to reception, to the concierge lounge workers, and even the wait staff in all the onsite restaurants and bars ~ knew how to make their guests feel special.


No matter who I encountered, I felt like I was their only priority. When I walked into the concierge lounge after a long day at the park, I was always greeted by name.  Every snack was well stocked and the coffee ready for my late afternoon caffeine fix.


Any time we needed anything, our request was filled promptly and with a smile.  I could tell the staff had pride in their work.


I also saw that the owners understood the importance of keeping everything updated and fresh (in fact the entire hotel is scheduled for a tower by tower renovation).  There was great wi-fi service throughout the hotel, everything was kept sparkling clean, and there was never a lack of little touches like fresh flowers in keeping with the resort look.  





However, despite all the wonderful service in our resort, there was also a time when customer service was lacking.  


In the theme park I visited, certain rides require riders to stow any purses, bags, glasses, etc. in lockers.  These lockers are provided free for a specific length of time (based on the wait times for the ride at the time).  This was certainly a nice touch.


Despite operating smoothly 99% of the time, after exiting one ride we found the system the park uses to run the lockers was down.  
After alerting an attendant, I was told he needed to contact his supervisors to be able to open our locker.  Meanwhile, our bags and money were inside.


What should have been a fairly easy fix, turned out to be a 50 minute wait.  That was a big chunk of time out of our park day for sure!




People with me tweeted to the park’s customer service about the issue, fully expecting them to at least respond.  Instead, they heard nothing.


In all the time since, there has never been an acknowledgment of their tweets or our problem.  For any business, that should be unacceptable.


That is why my vacation experiences, both good and bad, taught me a lot about Customer Service.  


Here are my Top 4 Takeaways:


  • Always Go the Extra Mile ~ Just delivering the status quo will not make you stand out.  Find even one thing, and consistently do it better than your competition.  It will be noticed and appreciated.

  

  • Show Your Customers You Value their Business ~ Send thank you notes or little gifts (and not just during the holidays) to express your gratitude.  Offer good customers special perks. Even a little here can go a long way.



  • Keep Things Fresh ~ Update your services.  Start a blog.  Do whatever it takes to continue to move your company forward. Remaining stagnant, or even worse, loosing ground, will hurt you.



  • Respond Quickly to any Problems ~ Mistakes happen.  It is what you do after that will define you.  Be sure to put all your focus on making it right, and create a plan of action to keep it from happening again.  



Providing great customer service will keep your existing clients and attract new ones.  Just be sure to go beyond “lip service”. Simply saying your company stands for great customer service means nothing.   


Back it up with clear and consistent action and you have a winning combination.


Authored by   



For more on small business, be sure to visit my website at www.accessprofiles.com and my blog, www.accessprofilesblog.com .

I would also love to connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!

2 comments:

  1. Nice job Kim! I enjoyed your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!

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