By Alan Campbell, Featured Contributor
Often, when we think about making a first impression, we think of those that work in the sales office of the organization they represent. We expect sales people to look good, dress well, be well versed, be friendly and always have a great disposition. We tend to “pigeon hole” a person or company by the way things look to us when we first meet them. The impression that we put forward to the client, guest starts with the first time they make contact with us. Ever wonder how much business we lose due to a poor impression from a sales, reservation, bell staff or other employee that have contact with our guest. To what extent is real, profitable business lost when we provide less that great service. What is it that we negatively do that can impact sales? If we were able to quantify the times it would most likely result in thousands of dollars of loss to a property over a 12 month study. We could use for example a client calling the property for a room, catering event, company meeting, convention, or any reason that could create a profit for the property. Some of the ways that can negatively affect the profit of the property.
1. The amount of times the phone rings and does not get answered promptly. The caller hangs up and goes on to the next cal. How many times does this happen, perhaps we will never know.
2. My pet peeve when the phone call goes directly to voice mail and you have to play the numbers game to get the right department.
3. The “Please hold” and before you can say anything, click you are on hold.
4. Phones that are answered promptly, but have a long winded message that is hard to understand.
5. The person answering the phone come across as not interested in you and wants to get back to her or his work
6 The call gets transferred to someone else and you wait forever, or get music in your ear for unusual length of time. I got news for you out there client will hang up and call another property.
7. The caller gets transferred to the wrong department.
8. Callers that leave voice mail do not get call backs in a timely manner
I could go on. The point is that at any time, any person on the hotel staff can be a position to lose business for a property by not making a great first impression.