Gaps in the Drywall
By Corey Keltner, Practice Development Specialist
My wife and I recently went to Mexico to celebrate her 40th birthday. We were really excited because we decided to stay at an upscale all-inclusive resort in the Playa del Carmen area which is about an hour away from Cancun. This place checked out with great ratings from nearly every travel site. It offered secluded rooms with huge windows overlooking a limestone pond called a cenote. The winter was reasonably harsh in Tennessee and so we were looking forward to some warm weather.
We got to the hotel and it was as beautiful as expected. They checked us right in and a bellhop in a golf cart shuttled us to our room. At first glance, the room was gorgeous albeit warm. We assumed that someone had left open one of the large glass doors and needed time to cool down so we headed to the concierge to book our fun for the week. The concierge seemed a bit aggressive to get us to a time share seminar but we politely declined and moved on to the pool area to get a bite to eat.
Everything was looking and feeling good until we returned back to the room. It was hot and not cooling down. We were not used to 85 degree heat indoors and immediately called to ask for a new room. The front desk sent a technician to check it out but it didn’t help. We then contacted them again and asked to move and they told us no more rooms would be available until the following day. Now, we knew this was not true because the bellhop had just told us that the hotel was only at 40% capacity. Additional attempts to change rooms were denied. It was at that moment that the experience started to fall apart.
At that point, I started noticing all of the little things that were wrong with the hotel and the experience. They installed new telephones on the wall but did not fill the gaps left by the old phones. They did not paint the rusty roofs often enough. The Wi-Fi connection was slow. Any request of our so-called butler seemed like it took an hour. We questioned everything that the staff told us and began assuming that they were going to give us as little service as they could.
Now the staff did upgrade us to a much nicer room with 3rd floor rooftop views the next day. They did provide us with wonderful meals and spectacular views. But that was not enough to make up for the lack of integrity and care they showed to us at the beginning of the trip.
If you think about why you would pay for an upscale resort, it is mainly because you want to feel that caring people are there to provide for all of your wants and needs. You want the people to lift your spirits and make you feel vibrant. The views and room (the product), while important, will never make up for a lack of attention to detail and care (the service).
From this experience, I have a few questions for your business:
- What you are doing to prevent situations that make your clients feel that you do not care?
- Are your people empowered to make things right when something goes wrong?
- Do you go out of your way to give clients an experience that they will tell their friends about?
- Do you attempt to sell sometimes instead of consult?
- Do your clients feel vibrant and uplifted from your interactions?
- Do you have powerful processes in place that eliminate those little issues that put your professionalism at risk?
As I look back I find myself thinking about how they could have done things differently. The concierge could have framed the time share conversation as something that may or may not be in my best interest and asked a few questions to find out whether I was a fit. The front desk could have moved us to a lesser room for one night and then upgraded us the next day. They could have been more apologetic and eager to make things right when my experience didn’t quite meet expectations. If the staff had only treated us like they cared a little more, then I likely would not have even noticed the gaps in the drywall.
If you have questions please email Corey Keltner at