Have you ever set out to create a system in your business that deliberately irritated or disappointed your customers? Probably not. But if I asked, “Have you ever done so?” The answer would probably be, “Yes!”
I had one of those experiences the other week. I was speaking at a convention in Orlando that was held at the beautiful Omni Hotel Resort at Champions Gate. It was around 9:00 a.m., on the morning of my presentation on “The Four Keys of Accelerated Growth,” when it dawned on me that my talk went from 10:15 a.m. until noon, which was also check out time.
So, I thought, “Why don’t I just call and request a late check out time so I don’t have to pack up right now.” At that moment I went over to the phone next to the bed and saw the following button entitled, “Prompt Response.” Note: It’s the first button on the second row from the bottom (you can click on the image for a larger image)
When I saw that, I thought, “What a great name for a button to call down to the front desk or operator,” and promptly pushed the button. Unfortunately, what happened next was anything but prompt.
It took 15, yes 15 rings before the operator picked up the call. She asked, “How may I help you?” I said, “I’d like to get a late check out for my room.” She said, “Let me transfer you to the front desk.” After which I then waited, catch this, for 60 rings BEFORE I hung up (i.e. no one at the front desk ever picked up the call).
Forget how terrible that was (systems mistakes at every level) and instead think back to the expectation that was set by the button, “Prompt response.” When you hear the phrase, “Prompt response”, how many rings do you expect before someone picks up the line? I’m guessing that while your normal assumption is probably three or four rings, when you hear the word, “Prompt,” it probably means, “On the first or second ring.”
In other words, when the Omni Hotel made a decision to change the normal first button on a hotel phone from “Front Desk” to “Prompt Response,” they created a whole new set of expectations. This wasn’t just a cute marketing phrase, it was a whole new level of expectations they created that needed a whole new level of systems to ensure that it would always be executed perfectly–24 hours a day.
It’s irrelevant if they pick up on the first or second ring 80 percent of the time. For the 20 percent of us who don’t get the standard level of service, it’s even worse than if they hadn’t used the phrase, “Prompt response.” And I’m pretty sure than in anyone’s book, 75 rings doesn’t meet the standard expectation that Omni management set with their cool new first button.
So, as you look at your business, what are the standard expectations that your customers and potential customers have of you? What expectations have you set with your marketing and materials? How often do you meet those expectations? If the answer is anything less than 100%, I’d encourage you to start there.
Why? Because the first step to creating WOW, is to eliminate all unWOW. And the place to start eliminating unWOW is wherever you’re not meeting the standard expectations your customers have of you (like getting a prompt response).
Toward accelerating your success!
Note: This is a great exercise to do with your staff or with a customer advisory board.