I have just spent the past fortnight in Orlando, Florida with my wife Shana and our two young children.
We stayed in one of the stunning four-star Disney hotels and the customer service levels were worrying to say the least. I was shocked to see that too many people seemed not to care and that that they had caught the ‘English disease’.
Our room was not what we expected, the hotel dealt with it but with very little grace or style, and while they were dealing with the issues, they were certainly not dealing with me and then this happened...
We packed everything you would require for holiday for our baby, milk bottles, nappies, dummies, etc. After a few days of using all the milk bottles my wife realised she forgot to bring the utensils to clean the bottles.
“Not an issue, I assured her, I’m sure the restaurant can clean the bottles for us,” I said. Shan went down to one of the many restaurants and asked if they could kindly clean some bottles for us because we had nothing to clean them with. The manager flatly refused and explained: “We have done this in the past and a baby was very sick from drinking milk out of one of the bottles we had cleaned and the parents blamed us; for this reason we simply cannot clean bottles.”
Shocked and frustrated Shana retuned back to the room and spent the next half an hour ranting about how ridiculous this was and how unreasonable the manager was. I suggested going to other restaurants and Shana was sure we’d get the same response.
The following morning we were having breakfast in the restaurant and our waitress approached my wife and explained that she overhead the conversation between the manager and her regarding cleaning the milk bottles.
She went on to explain: “I went shopping yesterday for my grocery shopping and bought you a cleaning brush and fairy liquid to clean your bottles.”
This is a woman we have never met in our lives and didn’t even ask her for the favour. We were literally blown away by her generosity and she refused any payment for the goods.
Would you get the same level of service in the UK?
Now you may argue that because the average tip in the US is 18%, compared to 10% in the UK, therefore service staff should work harder for that extra tip? The lesson I took away from that experience is sometimes the smallest thing can make the biggest difference to someone’s perspective or experience. When we returned home and our parents asked us what was the service in the hotel like, what do you think my wife told them about? I think she has bored about 40 people about how wonderful the waitress was and I haven’t heard her mention the fact the Manager refused to clean the bottles once!
If we can apply this lesson to every sales meeting, where we leave the prospect wowed by doing that one little thing that means a great deal to them, what difference could that make to our conversion rates? A fine example of this is I met with an estate agent in mid-December and they were keen on undertaking my sales training, however they wanted to recruit one more negotiator to the team before going ahead. When I returned to my office the following day, as well as emailing them a proposal as promised, I sent them two different job adverts I have used for some estate agent clients of mine and a list of great questions that I use when interviewing a sales person. Now I am not saying that’s the reason I got the deal when I spoke to this client last week, however I know it didn’t hurt? Think about how you could add value on every meeting you attend and see the impact it has on your sales figures.
About the author: Tony Morris is the director of the Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in Covent Garden in London. He is the author of Coffee’s for Closers, a sales book based on real life situations that you can learn techniques put straight into practice.