Have you heard about the latest BAD customer experience example?
It’s not been possible to open a social media feed today without seeing the saga unfold around Balgonie Castle and as at 9.22pm tonight, the facebook post initiated by Lauren Ann Hammond showing the social media comments that created such a storm had been shared 24.3k times!
I won’t repeat the full story here but what seems to have resonated both with customers (we all are at some point!) and business alike is that regardless of the rights and wrongs around contracts and commitments, is that the bride-to-be wasn’t just buying a meal for 52 people, she had booked her wedding with the venue and thus was buying a full experience and every interaction would count!
Why is this relevant to Millie’s Beach Huts? Well, beach hut hire isn’t about offering a beach hut for you stay in for the day, it’s about the experience and interaction that you have with is at every contact point.
Just yesterday, I was talking to an amazing lady (more on that later) about our end to end processes – from the point you find our facebook page or our website, reading blogs, making bookings, buying products, right through to visiting our huts and our contact with you afterwards. I want you to have a Millie’s Beach Huts experience every step of the way and was so pleased to hear her say that when looking at a visit to a beach hut when on holiday they found themselves saying “once you’ve had Millie’s Beach Hut experience, you can’t go back”. This is our goal!!
Over our winter season, I’ve been giving this a huge amount of thought and today’s social media story helped me consolidate my thoughts re why I wanted to make some changes on what could only be described as a whirlwind of a first year. As we grow, I want to ensure we don’t lose sight of the personal touch I want to provide and particularly the personal contact that I love having with you all but at the same time I need to ensure that when widening the team, there is no risk to your experience in doing so.
There are three key reasons why I think I need to make some changes to how we work:
#1 I hate not being able to answer your messages/enquiries as quickly as I would like
With a ‘day job‘, one of my bug bears is that I can’t immediately respond to messages or calls that I receive re the beach huts. Your time is important – there are only 1,440 minutes in a day afterall (as much as we wish there were more!). So when you contact us, I know that you’ve taken precious time to do so. I know exactly how it feels to have a long to-do list and how on some days it can be difficult to tick one thing off that list.
The worst thing for me is that if you have a question that our website doesn’t answer – you may have to wait for a response at the very time you need us most. On the very odd occasion, we do find a visitor to the hut may experience a problem (e.g maybe the can’t quite find the spare gas canisters and need someone to let them know they are under the day bed). I want that call to be picked up without delay to ensure that every guest has the best day possible.
#2 Organising family and friends are the equivalent of herding sheep
Ok, I haven’t tried herding sheep but I am normally the one who ends up sorting out diaries and booking tickets for various days out over the years. Argh – is all I can say!!
If you are the one booking a beach hut hire, there is no doubt that there has been countless emails, calls and checking family calendars by the time you get to us with some dates to book. I know that feeling of dread when the dates you have don’t work and you have to go back to the start to find alternatives.
This can be made so much easier when you can check online and crosscheck with all the info you have. We haven’t been able to offer this (until now!).
#3 I’m not here to provide you with an average service (nor one akin to Balgonie Castle either!).
You’ve seen our beach huts – haven’t you? We’re not average and thus an average customer experience when you book, is for me, not acceptable (and I’m not negotiating on that).
Even if you don’t end up booking with us due to lack of availability. I want to ensure we help point you to someone who can and if you do choose us in the future, every part of the process needs to be AWESOME (and easy for you to use!).
What I’m changing:
Whilst you can now make bookings online and check availability, remember that amazing lady I mentioned earlier? Well her name is Maggie and she’s going to make sure that we increase our responsiveness to emails, calls, and messages when sometimes I’ve struggled to get them to as quickly as I’d’ like.
Maggie loves beach huts (possibly a fraction more than I do) – her office has a coastal theme, her shed had the most amazing beach huts mural painted on them and she’s building a garden office…. three guesses what the decor theme will be??? Maggie is also a Millie’s Beach Hut regular. She has visited with her gorgeous family (two and four-legged) on numerous occasions and we met in person at the All About Dogs show in Brentwood last year.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be arranging for Maggie and her team to starting responding to your all emails, messages and calls during normal office hours so that your call or message is never missed. We will, of course, be introducing them to our new huts as they open – you never know, you may need then to help you find the wine bottle opener! I won’t be disappearing at all – the best bit about a Beach Hut Hire business is my interaction with you all, hearing about your days out, seeing pics and generally chatting BUT I want you to get the best from us when need us (not when we’re avail to answer in our own time).
You could call it fate and in a way it feels that Maggie has always been with us!!
I can’t wait to introduce everyone to you as they come on board – keep an eye out for a special feature in a future blog!
p,s We wouldn’t be here without all of you – I still feel the huts are yours as you helped us choose so many aspects of our interiors and contents! If there is anything else that makes it hard for you to find us, book with us or generally just isn’t helpful, do let me know and we’ll fix it – I promise not to feel annoyed ;0)