Strange Design Choices Slightly Mar a Great Customer Experience


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recently was invited to be the luncheon speaker at the MAPC (Associated
Mail & Parcel Centers) annual trade show and conference
held at the Indian
Lakes Resort
in Bloomingdale, IL (outside Chicago).
The conference/show was a blast, but I want to talk about the
customer experience that the resort (part of the Hilton
chain) offered.

In general, the resort provided an excellent customer
experience. The resort is visually stunning, designed, I
was told, by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, with indoor
waterfalls and the use of rocks and other natural elements
that brought the outside inside. The resort staff was
attentive and responded to each of my requests (foam
pillow—I’m allergic to feathers—and to have my air
conditioning fixed) within minutes. Both times I received a
follow up call from the manager to ensure I had gotten what I
needed. I even got an apology card slid under my door from the
front desk manager about the broken air conditioning (which
was quickly repaired). It was obvious that the staff had
been well trained with customer satisfaction in mind.

The conference facilities were well appointed and attractive.
The individual guest rooms, at least the one I had, was
very big, well lit, had free Internet (as well as free
wi-fi throughout the resort), and a well-stocked in-room
mini bar. Each room also had a lovely stained glass design
on the vaulted ceiling (which would be even better if it
lit up, but you can’t have everything).

The designers really thought through the customer experience
when designing the guest rooms. From little things like a
stainless steel ice bucket (which keeps ice frozen for
MUCH longer than do plastic buckets) to mounds of pillows
on the bed and big flat screen TVs to my favorite feature,
the most comfortable bed I every slept on (and it wasn’t
just me; the conference floor was buzzing about the beds),
the room was a pleasure to stay in.

But the room designers made a few mistakes—and they are strange

There was a connecting door to the room next door—you know,
the ones where, if the occupants of both rooms unlock the doors,
you can move from one room to another. This is a great
feature for families or other parties that travel together
and need more space. However, in my room, at least, this
connecting door was in the bathroom! If I were part of a
two-room set up, I know I wouldn’t want the kids passing
through while I was, well, “occupied.”

More concerning, the peep hole in the main guest room door—a
critical security feature that lets guests ensure that the
person at the door is expected and welcome—was so high, you
needed to be at least six feet tall to see through it. This
isn’t just annoying, it is dangerous!

I did mention these anomalies to the manager during one of her
calls, but she laughed them off as quirks of the rooms. I
really think that the peep holes, at least, merited more
consideration than that.

So, it just goes to show, no matter how well you think through
your customer’s experience, there are always some things
that need to be addressed even after you think you’re
done. Make sure you go through the experience that you
offer your customers, even when you have a high
satisfaction rating (I would go back to this resort with
pleasure). You might find that there are things that need
to be fine tuned to live up to the excellent standard you
hoped to set.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ronni Marshak
Patricia Seybold Group
Ronni Marshak co-developed Patricia Seybold Group's Customer Scenario® Mapping (CSM) methodology with Patricia Seybold and PSGroup's customers. She runs the CSM methodology practice, including training, certification, and licensing. She identifies, codifies, and updates the recurring patterns in customers' ideal scenarios, customers' moments of truth, and customer metrics that she discovers across hundreds of customer co-design sessions.


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