Monday, March 26, 2012

To Sell = To Serve

The Significance of Taking Good Care of Customers.

"It takes months even years to find a customer and it takes only seconds to lose one." --- Customer 101.

The above quote seems to be very suitable to what I recently experienced dealing with a customer. In this post, I would like to covey a message that we have to pay good attention, focus to the customer, hence take really good care if we don't want to lose them. Sometimes, a single mistake could be a fatal.

Let's say a company who has been our loyal client for years. Based on experiences and long-term relationship, the company put a pretty high expectation on our quality and standard of services. This is a trust and it is good. The fact; it is not easy task to reach this level of trust. But once we fail to deliver what we promised, the story tells a different plot.

For example, a sales person of hotel A, that normally takes care of company B resigned and left the job. For some reasons, the position is vacant for couple of months and hence no body replaces the salesperson. Plus, there is no proper hand-over to anybody to take care of the company B.

The company is an International brand and has global networks as well as partners. It normally has global corporate agreement with most of International hotels, including hotel A.

Every year, these International branded hotels (global operators like Marriott, Starwood, Accor, IHG, Hyatt, Hilton, Shangri-La, etc) normally renews its corporate contract rates with their partner companies; including those global corporation. When the hotel A updates its corporate rates with headquarter office of the company B, but fail to communicate to the local office of company B, then the booker or the travel planner of the company B will get upset.

The hotel booker goes; "It doesn't matter you increase our corporate rates to be 10 to 15 dollar higher or whatever you wish, but at lease inform us in advance."

The new salesperson replies; "...Mam, actually we already informed your headquarter office with regards to the renewal and the rates have been approved by your global corporate team, thus the deal has been made globally."

The booker goes; "I don't care. You deal with me, you gotta let me know first."

What makes the situation become worst is that when the booker wants an assistance, no one from the hotel sales team is available for service.

The booker actually wanted to speak with the hotel salesperson, but since there was no one could be an assistant, the booker's phone calls were constantly transferred to reservation agents. When the booker asked the reservation agents to book a room, the booker was surprised knowing her company's corporate rates have been increased. None of the reservation agents could explain reasons of the increment.

The booker got more upset when she insisted to speak with the hotel account manager, but again, no body could assist her. This means, there was no chance for her to tell her aspirations; her wants, wishes, desire and situation. And I tell you... this is too bad!

A week later, one of the hotel sales representatives visited the company and met the booker. The salesperson figured out the issue but it was too late.

She goes..."When I need you, no body can help me. Now you come here for a piece of business. Where have you been guys..?"

She continued, "When I needed hotel rooms no one from you could help me. Not even a single call back from you. My job that was supposed to be done in 15 minutes, turned to be 3 days because I had to search other hotels and that's really hassle. So, tell me why I have to comeback to you, guys?"

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If you were the sales person, what would be your response? Please share your opinions.