“So, you’re telling me that THIS customer is more important than all the rest?” And that I should give them preference over everyone else that walks in the door?”
“But they’re a VIP”, she kept on saying. Now she’s starting to annoy me…
I was having a conversation with a few of my old hotel friends and we were discussing some of the silly things that have happened to us over the years. Here’s a story I brought up that happened to me.
I’m sitting in our daily staff meeting where we discuss the upcoming banquet events. Each sales manager would touch on the key points of their customer’s requests, and I would explain the operational procedures on how we plan on servicing the event. We would go around the table until we discuss each event for that day.
When we got to one of our newer sales managers, I could already sense that she was a little nervous about this event. After she went through all the particulars and told me how important this group was, I did my best to assure her that they were in good hands and that I understood their needs and expectations. I was confident the event would go off without a hitch.
Treat Every Customer As a VIP
Just as we were getting ready close the meeting, she said to me, “You gotta write VIP on top of the BEO (banquet event order)”.
“What?”, I said.
“You gotta write VIP on the BEO. This way everyone will know they’re a VIP group and will pay special attention to them”, she continued.
“We treat EVERY group as a VIP”, I said. My team knows that. There is no need to write it down.”
Now, here is where it got fun (well, at least for me).
She started to get angry and insisted that I get out my pen and write it down. She even pointed to the spot on the paper where I should write it. I refused. And she couldn’t understand why. She kept going on and on about how this group is so important and that everything must go well. I had a great team and was sure we’d do a fine job.
So instead of beating the point to death, I excused myself, got up from my seat, and walked out of the room. As I exited, I could hear her complaining about me and my refusal to write down VIP.
Was I wrong? I don’t think so. Should I make adjustments to “ensure” this group is well taken care of? Examples:
- Write VIP on top of the BEO (let’s not get into that again)
- Schedule more staff to service the event (unnecessarily adds to the payroll)
- Have the employees come in early to be extra prepared (again, this adds to the payroll)
- Cancel all my other responsibilities and do nothing but watch this group (we have a business to run with other customers too)
I‘ve found that when you are confident in your team and communicate the operational needs clearly, they will do their best to serve the customer as expected. This is how it works each day. Do I expect that on this day and for this specific customer, all hell will break loose, and a catastrophe will befall us? Of course not. Will I spend a little more time making sure everything goes well for the group? Of course, I will.
But this is what’s done for every group. Every day.
3 Reasons Why Successful Teams Earn Your Trust
- When you have a successful team that takes pride in its work, your confidence builds.
- When you have a successful team, they routinely anticipate the customer’s needs and make adjustments as required.
- When you have a successful team, you can take on challenging customers because you know your knowledge and experience will guide your efforts.
Maybe this salesperson should spend more time “on the floor” watching her operational departments doing their job well than hiding in the office. How else will confidence grow in your coworker’s ability to perform well?
Writing VIP on a piece of paper sure won’t do it.