There is no second chance to create a first impression.
Over the Easter weekend my partner and I visited her family in Scotland.
Driving up on the Thursday evening, we stayed at a hotel which is part of a chain close to Preston just off the M6. The room was clean, the staff very friendly and we had no issues with the stay.
Glasgow however proved to be a slightly different experience.
Although the hotel belonged to the same chain it wasn’t up to the standard of the first. The room was fine and housekeeping did a good job across the three days, our problem however was with breakfast on the first morning.
The breakfast area was very busy with just one single member of staff responsible it seemed for everything from keeping buffet stock replenished to clearing tables.
This resulted in guests having to sit down at tables that hadn’t been cleared and were dirty. Once settled guests then had to ask for various items such as tea, coffee, cereals, bread, milk etc. to be replaced. Sometime this was done in a way that was particularly unpleasant and aimed at this one member of staff
The point is that this was the first morning we were there and the impression is gave was very poor.
In this situation I don’t believe that you should blame the person doing her best to keep so many plates spinning, this was a management failing, there were simply not enough staff on duty to look after more than fifty people.
I find it amazing that a business trading in the accommodation and food service sector, a sector with the largest number of failures in the UK, can’t get itself organized to deliver adequate customer satisfaction across all of its hotels.
Management of the human resources we have at our disposal is one of the most important things we do if we are running a customer facing business. There are a number of reasons for this but I will concentrate on just two.
If we adopt a market led ethos then we will want to put customers at the centre of our business – after all, customers are the lifeblood of any business aren’t they?
Customers want a good experience, irrespective of what they have paid. Experiencing poor service or being forced to complain can spoil a customer’s break, cause them distress and ultimately lose them for good.
Good staff can be a significant strength for a business – especially if they are customer facing.
Good staff will share the values of the business and will want to treat customers with the respect that they deserve. In order to do this however they need to feel valued by management and the organization as a whole.
Good staff who are not supported and therefore do not feel valued are likely to vote with their feet and seek employment with an organisation that will value them and treat them with the respect that they deserve.
Creating the right first impression is essential in any relationship, whether personal or professional. Someone who has never met or dealt with you before is measuring you (or your business) up. They are deciding whether they want to deal with you in the future. They are calculating the value they are getting in exchange for the money they are spending with your organisation. There is no second chance to create a first impression.
My point here is that we should always try to manage our resources to deliver the best customer experience. If that means hiring more staff at certain times of the year then that’s what we should do.