I write this with a certain degree of concern if not fear for British Business as we know it, as the amount of sabotage I am witnessing on a more and more frequent basis is become more alarming than concerning.
I’m not referring to the dictionary definition of the word:
“Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening a polity or corporation through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. Saboteurs typically try to conceal their identities because of the consequences of their actions.
But more the unintentional sabotage being caused every day by both Business Owners and employees by failing to fully apply themselves to the service of their customers. I see on a daily basis clear examples of where both employee’s and business owners create short cuts, look but don’t see and walk by in their busy day to day lives and pass up on opportunities to create that WOW for either a current or potential future customer. From cutting up the driver on the way to work only to moments later pull into the staff car park of the offices, to failing to see the cigarette butts and litter blowing around on the street directly outside the front customer entrance to the store. The member of staff that had a tiff with their partner last night and needs to ‘off load’ to their colleague to the bulb that’s out creating a darker area in the store. In a world where we are constantly connected, where we NEED everything with instant gratification and our demand for exceptional experiences have never been higher (predominantly governed by the amount of choice we now have) there are SO many opportunities to create those mini WOW moments that make us and our brand memorable that cost nothing other than a little thought, yet so many are missing the opportunity to make a lasting good impression.
I’ve recently spent a significant amount of time attending conferences, either as a speaker at them or listening to others. A highly successful and influential international speaker recently spoke of the need to ensure VXO into your business! VXO refers to Visitor eXperience Optimisation, and whilst he was specifically referring to online traffic, this is just as apparent for EVERY visitor as it is for those online. With SO MUCH choice available at the click of a button, we MUST remember people still buy people, yet I see countless opportunities every day where businesses and their staff have the opportunity to create mini WOW experiences for both prospects and customers yet fail to do so!
2 quick examples to demonstrate this:
I recently attended the local IMAX 3D cinema to watch a film I’d been looking forward to for some time now. I’d pre-bought a VIP ticket and excited the day had arrived. However, I’d forgotten to bring my own 3D glasses and so needed to buy/borrow/rent a pair from the cinema. Despite having bought a VIP ticket I needed to join the long queue of customers waiting to be robbed by the popcorn/soft drinks counter! Everyone appeared to be on ‘go slow’ more interested in carrying on the conversation between themselves behind the counter as apposed to have any dialogue with the customers. I eventually got my turn to be ushered forward with a bank style ‘Go to seller 4’ electronic announcement.
“Good evening, can I’ve forgotten to bring my own 3D glasses for screen 14, may I hire a pair?”
“Is that it?” was the reply “Pound”
I walked away towards another member of staff sat texting on his phone collecting tickets
“Screen 14 is on the 3rd floor, the lifts are over there” he advised. However I walked to the lift, to find a sign ‘clearly not only just been placed there which read ‘OUT OF ORDER please use stairs’ I returned to the ticket collector to advise of this and was advised “Yeah, right”
I joined the fellow cinema goers walking up the three long flights of stairs to screen 14. As I handed my ticket to another member of staff at the screen doors, she noticed the 3D glasses I’d been given read ‘CHILD’ on the packet! “You’ll have to go back to the ground floor and wait for someone to be free and replace them” she advised!
My VIP experience was ruined before I even took to my seat, because of simple things that could easily be resolved or prevented if staff actually thought and cared about my customer experience.
However this was far from the case when I recently attended the Midland Hotel, Manchester for a 2 day conference. I was not staying at the hotel merely attending conference yet had forgotten to bring with me a phone charger and was concerned it wouldn’t last the day. I was greeted by ‘Steve’ from the concierge desk, who without looking at make or model simply advised
“Leave it with me for around an hour Mr. Allen, (quickly glancing at my conference delegate badge) and I’ll have it fully charged and returned to you. I see you in the European Digital Marketing Conference, I’ll bring this to you the moment it shows as fully charged Sir”
The response I received was so far beyond anything I’d expected it left me feeling special and considered all day. However, the story does not end here, for the following morning I was walking towards the hotel with a number of other delegates I’d met the day previously. As I approached the front doors of this lovely 5* majestic building I heard a call
“Good morning Mr. Allen, welcome back to the Midland Hotel, enjoy your day”
“Good morning Steve, and thank you. Have a good day also”
My guests were immediately impressed, this guy they had just met is obviously well known to this 5* establishment, somebody to be considered, a ‘worthy connection’.
This cost nothing yet completely upgraded my already great experience of the Midland.
Later that day, I tweeted to the Midland Hotel how impressed I’d been with the experience, only moments later to receive a reply from the groups international head office in America thanking me for my tweet and wishing me a great day. Little things that weeks, and months later I’ll remember, share and comment on.
Sabotage is RIFE in UK Businesses RIGHT NOW. When was the last time you reviewed the sabotage in yours?