Customer Service And Setting Expectations

Many of us just finished Vision Expo West in Las Vegas. I am always reminded about customer service and the

Image: jayperoni.com/while-im-waiting

expectations of your customers and potential customers every time I travel and break the day to day normality. Might I suggest if you haven’t taken a break in a while that you do so sometime soon…not only for your own sanity, but for the lessons you can bring back to your practice/ store(s).

Based on the great deal I received online, I once again stayed at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. Despite my very disappointing  stay there last year (http://theopticalvisionsite.com/customer-service/customer-service-lessons-from-vision-expo-west/) I was convinced to go back, not only by the great prices I received, but by the assurances of the Flamingo staff on multiple calls how they had addressed many of my concerns with a multi-million dollar upgrade to most of the rooms. New mattresses, hardwood floors, 42” flatscreen TV’s and so on. Knowing most of my time was going to be spent out of my room at The Sands Convention Center and up the Suites at The Venetian it seemed a worthwhile bet to take.

I was excited for my trip this year on multiple levels. I had a lot of important meetings setup this year with clients and potential clients alike. My partners in the Visionaries Group also agreed to come early so we could spend a day before the show meeting as well. Unlike most years, where I found myself arriving at the hotel to check in early in the morning, this year, I arrived on Tuesday early evening, around 6:00. That should have been a perfect time getting most of those who have waited for 3PM check-in to get through their process.

As usual, there was a line of people to check in. As usual there were not anywhere near enough check-in staff at the Flamingo to take care of the people in line. Just like at the bank, there were a couple of people devoted to already checked-in visitors, with their own line waiting to resolve particular issues.  Just like most grocery stores, there were more empty stations than occupied stations to check people in. No to sound too much like Jerry Seinfeld, but why is it a grocery store has 24 lanes to check people out and yet only use 3 or 4 at any given time? Anyone every figure this one out? It took over 20 minutes of waiting in line to finally get to the front of the line and have them ask me to step up.

Here is my issue, those 20 minutes set up my expectations for my entire trip and those 20 minutes made everything that followed worse for the wait. What does it say about a hotel with 3,626 rooms, when there are a total of 6 people checking in guests? By making someone stand and wait for no reason other than they hotel refuses to staff the proper amount of check-in personnel, they make their guests feel both impatient and unwanted.

What’s the point to this? How long do your customers or patients have to wait on the phone or in your store or office before they get what they came for? What sort of first impressions are you giving both new and existing customers/patients when they don’t get waited on right away and come away from that experience feeling special about their experience with your store or practice? There are plenty of other OD’s and eyewear stores in your city and in even your side of town, just as there are plenty of other hotels in Las Vegas who want to earn my money in 2013.

Someone chose your store or practice to come in to. To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, ‘of all the optical shops in all the towns in all the world…’ they walked into yours. What are you going to do to earn that business and keep that business?

Daniel Feldman, is a co-founder to the Visionaries Group  visionariesgroup.com (on Facebook) and CEO of dba Communications dbadesigns.com, (on Facebook) a web design and social media firm specializing in helping eye care practices achieve success.

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