In 2003 we worked closely with several hotels – one of my favourite people in the industry was a gentleman by the name of Mike – he was the general manager of a hotel that our company booked on a regular basis.
Now the truth is – his hotel was not better, fancier or cheaper than any of the other hotels we sold at that time – yet that hotel received about 70% of all our accommodation bookings.
Apart from the fact that his staff were motivated and totally on the ball I knew that if there WAS a complaint – I would be the first to hear about it – from him.
One Monday morning at 7am my mobile rang – it was Mike – he simply said “Sarah we had a small problem with your guests – it rained on Saturday night, the room leaked and the only OTHER room we could move them to was a standard room.”
Considering these guests had paid for a DELUXE Superior room I could only imagine their disappointment.
Mike continued “On arrival at their new room they discovered that the hot water wasn’t working …. And we had no other rooms available.”
“OH boy” is all I could think right then!
“What we would like to offer them is a 2 night stay in a deluxe superior non leaking room as well as spa treatments for the pair of them. If they decide there is no way they are coming back – I am happy to offer them a full refund.”
So here I was – I was the middle man – it was MY clients staying in HIS hotel.
He knew they would probably contact me so instead of him waiting for me to call him and get the low down – he made sure I was not only in the loop, he made sure I was empowered to “make it right”.
I phoned the client at 8 sharp – he was taken aback that I hadn’t just sat and “hoped” he wouldn’t call.
I asked him “What can we do to make it right?”
He said “I’d like another night stay?”
“Super – you know what – we’ll make it 2 nights, fully complimentary and we’ll throw in some spa treatments as well – will that suffice?”
“It certainly will!” he said!
What did WE have – one happy customer!
What did Mike have – one happy middle man AND one happy customer!
By simply putting me into the loop quickly and giving ME the freedom to make an offer the problem did not need to be escalated, I did not need to hear the story from the client. I did not need to call Mike and then phone the guest back, it was sorted in one quick phone call – saved time, saved money and saved frustration.
By empowering your middle man not only are THEY happy which means they will become your loyal raving fans, the clients they have sent ALSO becoming loyal raving fans and this is what we want and need in our businesses!
Empower your middle man, Let them know when you have messed up and then give them the leverage to win the client back!
PS: The client had an awesome stay in a non leaking room ….. and she said “Yes”!