An Unfortunate Lesson In How Not To Do Customer Service

spa time, how not to do customer serviceI went for a back massage today, in a very well known spa. I actually had a voucher so was using that, and thought I might relax and enjoy the facilities when I was there.

I thought. Unfortunately it clearly wasn’t policy to encourage guests to stick around. Whilst I had a really, really good massage, everything else about the experience was well below par, to put it politely. So I wouldn’t go back, or recommend it. How bad is that?

This was a perfect example of how not to do customer service. And perhaps a reminder that however wonderful your product or service, if you don’t look after your customers they still won’t come back.

So what went wrong?

Well firstly I couldn’t even find it. There was sign in the car park, but once I reached the appointed floor, no signs. Nothing to tell me where to go.. So I went through he only door that actually had anything and found the gym, still no signs. eventually I asked at gym reception to be sent through and to the back.

So reception etc was OK, the treatment was great, except the therapist had cold hands! Like icy cold, how will that help my muscles?

As soon as she had finished I got the up sell, with the recommended items being brought to reception and placed on the desk, despite the fact nobody had asked if I wanted them or told me the price.

I was offered a glass of water afterwards, but not the opportunity to sit down and drink it, that too was brought out to reception after the first sip.

So I was processed, payments rung up, thank you, off you go……

Hang on a minute. They missed a bit. At the time of booking I was told I could use the facilities, and that I would have free parking.

Did anyone even show me where the facilities were? Or give me towel or robe or anything? Did anyone sort out my car park ticket?

Er, no. To all. Not a mention

What a missed opportunity, honestly. We go to spas to be spoiled don’t we? To have a little pampering, and relax.

How easy it could have been to wow me, and have me telling my friends how great it was. Not only was no effort made to impress, simple things that happen at most spas weren’t done. Things like showing me the swimming pool, sauna etc, the changing rooms, giving me a towel. Showing me where I could relax after the treatment, bringing my water there. Letting me peruse the recommended product and packages, not assume I would take them without question.

I think there are things to learn for all of us. If you market yourself a 5* you certainly need to maintain regular decent standards, and at least meet industry norms. An excellent service or product can be cancelled out by not looking after the customer, not ensuring the small things are covered.

And the sad thing is, none of those “small things” cost anything, apart from a little time and attention.

I would hope that a smaller business would not make these mistakes, but if you have staff be sure that they are doing what you would do and treating customers as well as you do yourself. In this case it may be a staff training issue, however it is costing them customers and money.

Biggest Learning Curves From My Early Days In Business

Tips from my learning to help your businessWith all the talk about what I have learned over the years, I have to say there is plenty to share with you at the moment!

Today I am going to take a quick look at some of the things that were MY biggest learning curves, way back when I set up in business, and in the early years.

One of the first and something that is ongoing, however long you have been in business, is the need for Boundaries if you work from home. I’ve worked from home for probably the majority of my 17+ years self employed. When I started we didn’t have ipads and smartphones, email was on one computer, the one in the office. I remember going to check on personal email and ending up spending 2 hours on work stuff in the evening…. not good.

Now its much harder because everything is mobile and with us all the time, yet I still think we need boundaries, we need to draw a line around business and have some down time. One easy way to help is have two phones, one for personal and one for business, then leave the business one at home when you are on social time (YES at home, leave it behind, its OK)

Something else I had to learn was Marketing. When I started out all I knew was what I had learned on a one day course designed for new business owners! And I know I’m not alone, its absolutely essential yet most of us start our business with zero knowledge. I had to learn it all, and one key thing I found out is if you’re doing it, it works, even though don’t necessarily get the clients from where you are active or where you think. If you stop taking action you stop getting results. So even if you don’t know about all the ways you can market your business, do what you can and do it consistently and well. Its all about relationships at the end of the day, focus on building relationships and watch what unfolds.

And on the subject of taking action and things coming to you, that works in many ways, we do attract our clients, co-workers and even suppliers. I wasn’t as aware back then as I am now, and when I started I didn’t appreciate that my biggest client came to me, I didn’t go looking. I had this client before I had actually given up the job to start my business!

If you do work with others, always have agreements in writing. Doesn’t matter if they are friends and you think you both want the same thing, there may be things you didn’t think of, or changes may happen you couldn’t have foreseen.

And if you decide to go into business with someone else, make sure you know what you are getting into, and be careful not to put all your eggs into one basket until you are really sure. I’d definitley recommend having a trial period.

And find out why they really want to work with you, discuss and write down what each person is bringing to the arrangement, think of clients, time, money, and ask what do you each expect out of it. Make sure you want the same thing and are happy that your ideas and plans are compatible.

And as your business moves forward take care to balance growth and affordability, you need some of the profits for you, and for expenses and taxes, you can’t invest them all up front. One example might be when taking on staff, yes you need to take staff on to expand, and yes you will certainly earn more as you have more resources, I won’t dispute that, just make sure to manage it and manage the timing. And again be careful who you take advice from.

So there you have it, what I consider to be my biggest learnings, outside my personal growth. I hope it saves you some time and effort along the way.