Marketing – is a lot about persistence

Customer Delight, Marketing, persistence, service quality

I had written in September about my trip to Jaipur and how the staff at the Radisson hotel over there were so persistence that I comment on TripAdvisor if I found their service good. Not only did they delight my family and me with their service, they also ensured that I recognised their work, so that more people would come to stay in their hotel.

Today I just came back after a two night stay at another leading American Five Star Chain hotel in Gurugram. There’s a reason I am not naming the hotel here. The whole staff was very pleasant and the restaurant staff was extremely helpful and we had an excellent stay. However no one persisted with pushing me to rate them on Trip Advisor. So even though they gave me excellent service, I will not talk about them.

Most human beings are inherently lazy and will not go out of their way to do something, leave alone leave a comment on TripAdvisor. But if you are in the hotel industry and if you have raving fans, then your rooms will always be full. Its an uphill task to always keep delighting your customers, but terrific companies do it.

This is all marketing and I notice when people do something exceptionally well to delight their customer. In most hotels in India, the service levels are very high and we expect even average hotel to deliver high levels of service. In most western countries the service levels in the hotels are just about average, so I don’t actually expect high quality service. But when you come across exceptional service in any part of the world, you want to laud it.

Delivering exceptional service consistently requires a lot of work, but being persistent, that the service also gets applauded is a marketing task and I think the Radisson in Jaipur and especially a few of their staff with whom we dealt with did achieve that.

When you give exceptional service, get the customer to give you a testimonial in some form. A good testimonial is a thousand times more powerful than whatever you talk about yourself.

Till next time then….keep delighting your customers and be persistent in taking testimonials.

Carpe Diem!!!

Sometimes losing a sale is good, in B2B

B2B, Customer Delight, Customers, losing, Sales

As a business leader, there are a lot of times when you have to take a decision on pricing which results in losing a deal.

I have had to take many such decisions and the sales persons involved in the deal get really upset since they misses their target because of that decision.

See, its very easy to discount to win a deal, but if after winning the deal you’re not able to execute because it’s way out of budget then you get a terrible name. In B2B, if you fail to deliver or deliver badly, then you can be sure that you will not get business from that company again and if the manager involved in the decision , goes to some other company, she will ensure that you do not get business from there also.

I have had a couple of instances where we lost the order, then the vendor who was awarded, did not deliver and after one year of struggling, the customer called us back and gave the order without any negotiation.

And since we did a good job there, they gave us multiple more cases.

The advantage of B2B is that once you do a good job, then generally, the managers want to keep working with you. The inertia and the political situation in the organizations mean that a manager doesn’t want to try a new vendor if she can.

So even if you have to lose a deal, its okay because you will get many opportunities to win. But if you do a bad job, because you don’t have the money in the deal, then you will lose the client forever.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Amazing lesson in marketing

Customer Delight, Marketing, service quality

I am always on the lookout for amazing execution of marketing activities especially when they are at the ground level. If you’re frontline employees can be brilliant at execution,  there’s no stopping your growth.

It’s one thing to say you are good, its another when your customers go public showing their appreciation.

In India, only now has there been some opening up of the tourism sector over the last 2 months. A lot of families have got their 2 doses of vaccination and are therefore a little less scared of travelling. So now people are slowly starting to travel with their families and visit holiday destinations.

My family and I also decided to have a change of scenery.  So when we were booking our hotels and had shortlisted on two brands of five star hotels, my wife decided to look at TripAdvisor to search for unbiased views.

Among the 2 hotels, one of them had such rave reviews by guests that it was a no-brainer to choose this one.

Boy when we reached, were we delighted to have chosen this hotel.

Incidentally if you have to see what hospitality is, you have to visit India. You can’t get better hospitality anywhere else.

However we stay in India, so our expectations and benchmarks for hospitality are different.  So when I say this hotel was way above on the hospitality scale you can imagine the quality.  But the best is yet to come.

We had booked our room with dinner and breakfast included. So we go down to the restaurant for our first meal in the restaurant.  And the hostess seats us and asks about our stay etc. Then mentions if there’s anything special that we would want, we just need to mention.

The food was very tasty and the staff was extremely helpful.  On the second day at dinner we liked 2 dishes which were exceptional so we called the floor manager to give the chef our compliments for the dishes. He mentioned he would, but would we be kind enough to give our comments on TripAdvisor  because then his whole team would be enthused. Note the first nudge to go and comment on TripAdvisor.

In our next day breakfast our hostess again asked if there’s something special which we would like to have. My wife asked her for suggestions on local dishes. She suggested a dish and asked the chef to get it ready for that night’s dinner.

The dish was amazing and the fact that they had specifically got it made for us, made us feel very special. Again the hostess and the floor manager asked us if we had liked the food. When we said we loved it, they again asked us to post our review on TripAdvisor. Note the second nudge.

The hostess then came to leave us till the elevator and told us how we can quickly find where to put our comments on TripAdvisor so we don’t have to waste time. Note the third nudge along with a helpful piece of advice. Most of us are lethargic and we tend to delay doing these kind of things and eventually forget about it. By nudging us this way, they ensured that we put our glowing comments there.

The story does not end here. That’s the reason I found it so interesting and I am writing about it.

These guys were monitoring TripAdvisor. So when we put our comments they noticed it. So immediately in the next meal, the hostess came to thank us for the comments and again asked if there was anything special that they could prepare for us. Again we took her advice for the dish and that night we again had a fabulous meal. When we again complimented the team, the hostess again asked if we can give another comment on TripAdvisor and my son this time said why not and went and put a comment there.

Now this special treatment was not only for us. It was for all the guests which I observed with the number of comments on TripAdvisor for this hotel.

Its not only important to give great service, its also critical to get happy customers to spread the word by writing a recommendation. These guys have mastered this art.

Even though we are in the B2B business I have been thinking on how we can incorporate this kind of a system into our business.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!