We just took our family on holiday to Tasmania (had a ball) and also had an interesting experience at one of our accommodation stops. They had just taken over the property 3 weeks ago it had become a little rundown. We virtually had the place to ourselves (which could be a good thing or also a warning sign).
We are a family of five which does pose some challenges and there are very few facilities that cater well for us, although many are prepared to take your money to accommodate five but provide ‘below par’ accommodation. So we spent our first night squashed in and found many things that were wrong with the rooms – such as broken lights, heater not working, bed configuration impractical, not enough cutlery or glasses – not even sufficient kitchen chairs or lounge chairs for everyone to sit down.
So the next morning I went to the owner with the intention of sharing the feedback – along the lines of ‘I know that you have only been here for a few weeks and thought that you might like to know…’ The owner became extremely defensive and stand-offish – and immediately missed a golden opportunity. (Imagine if she had asked us to consider sharing our detailed feedback so she could learn and make adjustments – maybe offer an upgrade or give a complimentary bottle of wine – imagine what she might have learned – free of charge, from experienced travellers.
A couple of observations from this missed opportunity:
- Ask for feedback – actively seek the good, the bad and the ugly. Feedback gives you the opportunity to learn, improve and beat your competition. Build in a feedback and testimonial process
- Try it yourself – the owners of this facility would benefit from staying in each of their apartments to see how they work in reality. To ‘walk in a mile’ in their customers’ shoes
- Embrace the feedback – try to not take the feedback personally – use it constructively and build in a continuous improvement methodology. If your team are frightened to raise issues then mistakes may be buried.
- Reality versus perception – one of the reasons for our disappointment was that our expectations were significantly different to what we got. We thought we would be playing tennis – the tennis court was trashed. We thought we could ride bikes or go to the gym but neither option was at all attractive. We thought we had room service yet our rubbish piled up for three days
- Focus on the high value-adds – my sense was that the female owner was very focused on the reception area (which looked lovely), but her time would have been better spent on just bringing the rooms up to a functional level
So do you have a re–occurring feedback mechanism or are you avoiding your feedback? Remember – embrace it rather than hide from it and reap the benefits both for yourself and for your business.