More imagination in customer service

Having been frustrated with the lack of interest in new business exhibited by local event venues and hotels, I have to be fair and mention that one of them telephoned back after a week to say that they could meet my proposal for the amount per head for each of my breakfast group, but they would need to charge an extra amount (actually quite a lot) for our use of a room at their establishment. Quite why they thought this would be satisfactory when clearly I was looking for a particular budget, which they disregarded in adding the room cost, I just don’t know. It is not as though their room would normally be in use between seven and nine in the morning, and since my business group is not in the habit of trashing every room in which we have a meeting, I doubt whether there would be a significant cost even for cleaning beyond a brief run round with the vacuum cleaner.

Presumably they wanted the business; why come back with this when basically I had given them a take-it-or-leave-it proposal with a known outcome and no real downside when they would have had staff in anyway to prepare breakfast for hotel residents? There is a distinct lack of business nous frankly. Obviously I declined their offer.

I was feeling a bit disappointed, but driving back from a meeting on Thursday I heard an ad on the local radio station for a restaurant I had not considered; I had not been aware they were open except in the evenings; apparently they are under new management. The commercial said they served breakfast, lunch and dinner, and hosted events. Naturally when I got back to the office I gave them a call. The duty manager seemed very business-like, she thought they could accommodate the group and was happy on my price proposal, subject to the approval of the owner, which she got. As they do not normally open for breakfast until nine, they are going to get their chef in early or the owner might be in the kitchen, but we are giving it a trial on both sides.

It is refreshing to get a great attitude from someone prepared to give a try to something new in the way of business. Maybe they will decide breakfast events are not for them, but they have an open mind. That is how we in business should approach 2010 and in particular business in a downturn: with an open mind. Otherwise we will assume doors are closed which many just be open a little and only need a push from us. At least, that’s what I think. How about you?

© Jon Stow 2010

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3 Responses to More imagination in customer service

  1. Roy Atkinson says:

    Thank you for writing this. It would seem that one of the prime reasons to gain business is to expand customer base. Sometimes that requires doing something a little bit different.

    I hope your new venue proves to be just the perfect happenstance.

  2. Jon Stow says:

    Thank you, Roy. It really ia a question of imagination in just thinking how we might change our approach to business. Sometimes we can offer a valued service with very little overhead cost to ourselves. We need to consider the value to our client in finding a price, but also the value to ourselves in gaining more opportunity for future referrals by trying something new. Charge the right price but try not to be greedy because that can turn off a potentially good new stream of business.

  3. Dan says:

    There is a shocking lack of customer service in just about every shop you care to go in these days. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect staff to be falling over themselves to help me (though every now and then it would be nice!), but the sheer amount of staff that barely show the vaguest interest in doing their job is shocking.

    At least you got a call back from one place, which is more than I dare say you’d get from many, and it’s good to see that at least one business had the common sense to try something new!

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