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The Baker Marketing team enjoyed a dinner at a local establishment last week. The way in which the venue interacted with us between the booking and the dinner itself was a great lesson how a business can use technology, great customer service, and automated marketing to exceed customer expectations.

But the experience on the evening itself struggled to meet the great expectations we had as a result of the previous interactions.

I visited the restaurant in person and booked our table about a week before our function. The staff member I met was friendly and helpful, and she made it clear that they would follow up to ensure that we turned up on time for our dinner. It was made very clear by the staff at the restaurant that we should be seated at 6.45pm.

When I returned to the office, their reservation software had already sent out an email confirming the details of our booking which made it clear that we had to advise of any changes well in advance. I was impressed that they were so organised, and delighted that they were “on the ball”.

Here’s an edited excerpt from that first email:

Dear MARK

Thank you for your booking for 14 on 29 Jul 2016…

If your booking is between 10 and 29 people (and you have provided credit card details)
Please respond ‘YES’ to this email, indicating you acknowledge and agree with the following:

I am aware that my credit card details have been recorded…
Final numbers must be confirmed 24hrs prior to booking time.
MY CREDIT CARD WILL BE CHARGED AT $15 PER PERSON IF LESS THAN THE CONFIRMED NUMBER ARRIVES.

Once we receive your positive response, your booking will be confirmed.  Should we not
hear from you, your reservation will not be considered firm and your table may be rebooked.

To avoid delays in our service to you, please ensure your guests are seated by your booked time of 6:45 pm

Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you.  If there is anything else we can assist
with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I changed our booking several times over the next few days as more people made themselves available for the event. At each stage I spoke with staff who were friendly and helpful, and each time I received another email to notify me that changes had been made to our booking.

By the time the event rolled around I made doubly sure that we all got there on time. The venue’s email marketing tactics had achieved the desired result. We remembered our booking and we were punctual.

But that’s when the experience at the venue didn’t quite live up to the expectations they had created.

We were all seated and ready to start ordering by 7pm, but then it took a while for the waiting staff to get organised enough to take or orders. In the end, the children were served at a bit before 8pm and the adults’ meals didn’t arrive until about 8.30pm, nearly two hours after our arrival.

I had forwarded a couple of the venue’s emails to my colleagues, and as a result everyone expected the experience to be equally or even more outstanding than the quality of the email marketing that came before.

The message is clear – If you run a business, make sure that every aspect of the product or service you deliver, including the marketing, is top quality, especially anything that impacts on the overall customer experience.

The “Theory of Constraints” observes that in any organisation just one broken process can bring a whole system to a grinding halt. A constraint is a weak or broken link that prevents the system from achieving its goal. Because “a chain is no stronger than its weakest link,” it’s very important to identify and repair those weak links.

A constraint might be related to the performance of equipment used by the business, might be related to the skills or behaviour of the people in the organisation, or it might be a policy that is holding you back.

When reviewing your marketing and overall marketing strategy consider the needs and “drivers” of your customers and primary target markets carefully.

Look out for the constraints in your business that impacts negatively on your customers and strive to eliminate them, so that customers are satisfied at every point along their journey.

 

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