Lessons from the Road: If it Weren’t For Those Pesky Customers!

A few observations from my travel the past week on the east coast:

We Give You What We Want. Period.

A restaurant we stopped at in Queens, NY has a note on the bottom of the menu that menu items must be ordered as outlined on the menu. They do not make substitutions or changes. What’s there is there–deal with it. No wonder the place was practically empty when we stopped.

It’s All The Customers’ Fault.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Providence called me yesterday to tell me there was a problem with my room: “It turns out we’re ‘under departed.” Under departed? Does this have to do with deaths and funerals or is it related to the movie The Departed, shot up the road in Boston?

The bottom line is they didn’t have enough rooms for the number of guests. But rather than saying that they were oversold, which implies some responsibility on the part of the hotel, they chose to say “under departed,” which puts the onus back on those darn guests for staying too long. Personally, I was underwhelmed.

Wish We Could Help, But It’s Always Been Broken.

As a result of the departure situation at the Crowne Plaza, I was “diverted” to a nearby Sheraton, where it seems the business center is not quite open for business. Following all of the directions, I tried multiple times to print a document with no luck. The staff came out to help me and were just as frustrated. One of the other guests told me a workaround he’d come up with since “this system hasn’t worked for the months I’ve been coming here.” Eventually we figured it out (although their printer was running low on ink so the print quality was poor), but my question is why have this pretty little technology center set up, if you don’t maintain it or aren’t sure how to make it work?

In all of these cases, imagine how much easier life would be if it weren’t for those pesky customers bothering them. Wait..aren’t those the people who pay the bills?  Might there not be a connection somewhere?

What signals is your business sending to its customers? Are you signaling them not to bother you in the future? Stop and look from your customers’ perspective. Then do something to make them feel wanted–while you still can.

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