A First Impression Can Make Or Break Any Customer Relationship

By Debbie Bermont President, Source Communications | January 14, 2010

Unfortunately, with all the branding efforts towards educating the mass market on good service, you now have to deliver exceptional service on a consistent basis or you will fall short of the customer's expectations.

The first point of contact with your company sets the tone for your future relationship with a prospect. You only get one shot at making a positive impact on that person with an exceptional first impression. If you lose them in that first moment, you might have damaged the possibility of even making the first sale - let alone getting customer loyalty.

The only way you can develop and strengthen a relationship is through a first positive impression followed up with constant care, attention and nurturing. Every connection you make with the same individual adds to the experience of the relationship. In business all it takes is one negative person in your company to have an unpleasant experience with a customer and all the good has been wasted. If you start off on the right foot with an exceptionally positive first impression, you have to follow up with more exceptional connections to make the relationship strong.

Most likely the initial contact with your company is going to be by phone, mail or through your website.

When the first connection is an incoming phone call from another person you want to leave the caller with a good first impression so they have a desire to call your hotel again. Proper phone etiquette is the most obvious way to leave a good first impression. Unfortunately it's not uncommon to call a company and get a person on the other end of the line who sounds hassled, frustrated, bored or apathetic. Obviously this doesn't leave a good first impression.

This is the age of automation where companies use phone features such as auto attendants, voice mail, call waiting and placing someone on hold. While each of these features is meant to improve communications, they also can lead to frustration for the caller. We have entered an era where people have very little patience. They expect answers immediately. If someone goes out of their way to connect with your company by phone, they will appreciate an immediate courteous response on the other end of the line.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.