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Today's Marketing Cookie - Make Friends
"Let hatred turn into friendship because of your existence."
Today's Marketing Cookie is reminding us that we have the capability and capacity to be super heroes. When customers do not get what they expect, they will seek a customer service representative to correct the situation. The future of the relationship is literally riding on this interaction. Was the problem corrected to the customer's satisfaction, or did it all just become worse? When customers do not get what they expected and their request for accommodations to fix the problem are denied, the customer will feel cheated, mistreated and neglected. When the customer reaches the point of feeling angry, it is likely that the customer will never come back, and they will probably tell everyone they know, including family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and distant cousins just how bad their experience has been. Bad news spreads faster than good news, unless the good news is a result of fixing bad news... did you get that?
Let me explain. A major hotel wanted to understand the power of "being a hero" and created an experiment to actively convert hatred into friendship. We decided that we would select random customers and secretly put them into two distinct groups. For the the first group of customers, we purposefully made sure that something in their experience would go wrong, and then we would make sure to save the day and correct the problem. For the second group, we would take the extra time to make sure that everything in their experience was absolutely perfect. Then, for both groups, we would ask them to fill out a survey.
For the customers who were selected as the "something is wrong" group, there were many things wrong. For some, they were forced to wait in the lobby because "their reservation was not entered into the system properly" and then, when they were visibly annoyed, they were upgraded to a luxury suite. Sometimes there were little things wrong like no pillows in the room, no towels, or the TV didn't work. In each case, from big to small, the problems were rectified immediately and the customer was given a complimentary meal, free movie or some other added benefit. Without exception, all of the customers from the "something is wrong" group filled out the survey at the end of their stay. They all gave high marks for their experience at the hotel and confirmed that they would recommend the hotel to their friends or family.
For the "everything is perfect" group, special care was given to make sure their room was in perfect condition. They each received a call from the front desk to ensure that they had everything in their room that they needed. If they called for room service, their food was delivered quickly and in every way, received the best service possible. At the end of their stay, only one customer from the "perfect" group filled out the survey.
What does that experiment teach us? I believe it teaches us that meeting a customer's expectation is the baseline... as well as meeting it perfectly. When however, you exceed the customer's expectations, especially when you've rectified a problem, you have an opportunity to form a strong, happy and loyal relationship.