THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

LTV and crappy customer service

After a couple of delightful nights at the Melia White House in Regents Park, it was down to earth in the last 24 hours with two classic examples of lousy thinking. First – after the game yesterday, I decided to celebrate with a pizza at Prezzo in Falmouth – having printed a “two for one” voucher off their web site. Nice (I thought) – BOGOF pizza after watching the Reds win. The restuarant was opened last year and we have become quite friendly with the owner, Paul, who always makes a fuss of us when we go down there. Not yesterday. We arrived at about 6.30pm to see that there were maybe 15-20 people in a restuarant that has capacity for over 100. Not busy. We walk in the door expecting Paul’s usual warm greeting. There is a new restaurant manager – all male, smart, busy, busy. He walks past us at a rate of knots and exclaims “I’ll be with you in one minute.” OK – fair enough. A couple of minutes later he arrives, place map in hand, and asks: “Name?” No – “good evening, welcome to Prezzo, how can I help you?” Just one word. “Name?” Catching on quickly, I stay calm and respond; “we do not have a reservation – we would like a table for two please.” He looks at me as if he has discovered dog shit in his shoe tread. “Ah – then if you would like to take a seat I will be with you in 10-15 minutes” – he says, pointing at the lounge area. I look at Annie – she looks at me. “No thanks” I say. “OK” he says – turns and walks away as if he has won a competition – triumphant would be how I would describe his demeanour. I’ll have to pop down some time this week and explain to Paul that he has made a recruitment error. Falmouth isn’t big enough or busy enough for a prima donna maitre’de. Second example. I have a reservation tonight at The Old Thorns hotel in Hampshire – in fact for the next two nights. I’ve decided to get up at dawn tomorrow and drive up there early – so I ask Phillippa to cancel tonight at 9.00am this morning. Every other hotel is good for a cancellation up to 4.00pm on the day of arrival. Not so the Old Thorns – a £50 cancellation charge. What they don’t understand is the concept of LTV. That means Long Term Value. They keep their £50. They lose all my future business – and hopefully the business of anyone reading this blog. What goes around……..

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