When Image Doesn’t Match the Experience

I’ve been running my own businesses for 30 years now where I’ve built 26 multi million dollar companies where I’ve taken one of them from zero to $130m in annual revenue and all through those years I lived by this one saying, “you don’t get a second chance to create a first impression”.

When I’m presenting away from my home city, I prefer to stay at the venue where the event is being held as it just makes sense and is easier all round.

I recently presented at an event held at the QT hotel on the Gold Coast, Australia and just want say up front that the QT concept of being funky and quirky is quiet refreshing, but more to the point, what I enjoyed about it was that it’s out there, innovative and different. However I have now stayed and presented there twice and on both occasions the experience didn’t match the funky quirky concept.

You see in today’s day and age, we live in such a competitive world that just being different is not enough, there needs to be consistency with the message you’re putting out there. And the fact that the QT hotel concept has funky fittings and fixtures and bright employee uniforms, with a plastic culture that seems to be right through the organization isn’t enough to make you want to come back time and time again.

During my recent stay, I experienced poor service in a few areas and every time I asked for something, be it in a restaurant, bar, reception or café, the response was exactly the same, with a “couldn’t care less” attitude. You smile and try and make conversation and the staff would look at you like you were from another planet and what ever it was I was asking was an inconvenience to them.

Now I must say there were 3 or 4 that were very helpful and quite pleasant, but 95% were not and in fact I would even go as far as saying they were quite rude. Now the success of my businesses was built entirely around culture and customer experience and today I travel the world teaching this to businesses large and small across all industries.

Deep down I was looking for a positive outcome, give them the benefit of doubt so to speak. I didn’t really have time to go and speak to the manager so whilst on a break during the event, I decided to write a private message to the QT Hotel Facebook page just wanting to bring to their attention and point out the areas of concern. Now I introduced myself and asked if the message could be forwarded to the appropriate person. I was presenting in one of the conference rooms in the Hotel, so they had every opportunity to come and see me personally, but obviously thought I wasn’t important enough. In fact the reply I received was appalling, here it is word for word.

Thanks Ralph. We will take your opinions into consideration. Best wishes.

Now here’s the thing, my wife had never been to the QT Hotel before and when we arrived on the Friday and settled in, she said, the kids would love this place, we should bring them up and spend a week here during the Easter break. By the end of the weekend she said, I’ll never come back here again. Now I have 3 children, so we need 2 rooms for 7 nights with food etc, work out the math on what they have just lost, but here’s where they are morons, because I am sharing my experience with everyone I come in contact with and using that experience as a great case study in my trainings all over the world.

So the lesson here is that if you’re in business and really want to stand out from your competitors, it’s not enough to have the cosmetics of the image right, you need to focus on delivering the experience that goes with that image and have your clients wanting to come back time and time again.