There’s so much we can’t control in business these days,
but we can control our attitude
Providing a good customer experience can be a challenge for any business.
Whether you’re a general business selling standard products, such as a supermarket, or a five star hotel selling unique experiences, customer experience can be tough to get right.
Add in the fact that you are likely dealing with a high volume of customers with varying expectations + the game is even tougher.
As part of our continuous live research within the tourism industry, the family recently stayed at a campground in the south-east Queensland corner. It was on this trip that we were gifted a little, unexpected surprise. Let us explain.
Process is not the full experience
As a business owner or manager of any accommodation site, there’s a process you follow that both you + your customers generally know fairly well – check-in + welcome.
But there’s something that many of us forget about this process + what happens afterwards…
Let’s take a campground, for argument’s sake (but this can easily be adapted to a hotel/motel).
After your guests check-in in at reception, find out where their camping site is located + receive their standard map + info about the facilities, the functional process may well end there. What doesn’t end is their experience + relationship with you.
The customer sets themselves up, settles in + enjoys the site’s facilities, often without any further interaction with you or your team. Granted, they may pop in to ask for info on local sights, or buy a coffee at your cafe, but mostly, they keep to themselves.
Cue – complexity
As a business owner, there are certain things you can control. The quality + cleanliness of your facilities, the services you offer, the added extras you provide… these are easily seen + quite tangible in nature. You can see when a bathroom needs cleaning, for example.
But one of the biggest challenges of running an accommodation business – be it a 5 star hotel or a 3 star caravan park – is that there is so much outside your control, from other guests + how they conduct themselves, to the weather.
As business owners, we know this. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to impact those elements of the customer experience that we can control. Even if you get the tangible factors right, it’s when something goes wrong that is your chance to shine in the eyes of your customer.
So, how can you get control over your customer experience?
Back to our weekend away…
Mindful of these challenges that face caravan parks + campgrounds in particular (there are no nice concrete walls to block the noise, after all), it was a pleasant surprise to see the business take ownership + control of an area they could control – the cafe + the staff.
Whilst standing in the relatively long queue for the cafe (all following social distancing rules, of course), we spotted a lady stacking the shelves of the drinks fridge. Nothing too remarkable about this, you might say, but it was her shirt that caught our eye. On the back of the shirt, in large writing, were the words ‘Yes, certainly’.
Now whilst we didn’t have a direct interaction with this particular staff member, the lady behind the counter had a great attitude – she was friendly, polite + at no time rushed us to make a decision about our order. We didn’t need to see the back of her shirt to know that she obviously had the same catch-phrase plastered across her back – ‘Yes, certainly’.
Later that day, when we asked the receptionist if we might stay an extra hour or two past check-out time, what did we hear – ‘Yes, certainly’.
In business, regardless of how much control you might have over certain aspects of your customer’s experience, it’s those things you can control that can make the biggest difference.
We may not have had an issue during our stay, but if we did, you can be certain we’d know park management would be on our side + that they’d do whatever they could to help solve our problem. #winning
So, what does that mean for our customer experience + our relationship + our sentiment towards the holiday park?
It goes straight to the heart + addresses one of the five customer fears – the assurance to know that if something goes wrong, it won’t be too much trouble + that they’ve got our back. It’s these sorts of less overt guarantees that build customer advocacy + make you the choice over competitors + encourage repeat patronage.
Two simple words can create an ethos, an attitude that will far outweigh those elements you can’t control + create an environment of openness, warmth + welcome.
Don’t we all want this as business owners?
So what can you do in your business, to create the same?