Imagine you’re the CEO of a company you recently started.
You left your high paying job to try your luck at entrepreneurship. You have a solid business plan, a great reputation in your industry and a pipeline from your established contacts. Once you close the next two big deals you’ll be well on your way. You have some capital in the bank from your savings and you were just approved for a line of credit at the bank, but you’re practicing lean business principles until the revenue is consistent.
Therefore you are working from your home office and you’ve asked the two sales executives you just hired to do the same. You’re only investing capital on costs that are directly related to generating revenue. You’re attending tradeshows and events, making sales calls and traveling to see customers. You’re a lean machine.
Does this describe anyone you’ve talked with recently? The global economic climate of the last few years has created more entrepreneurs and self-employed people than the decades before. Technology advances has made it easier for people to start their own business and keep overheads low. The internet has enabled collaboration among people thousands of miles apart. The way people work has changed.
Face Time Still Matters
Now imagine you’ve just scheduled a meeting with that big customer you’ve been calling on for months. It’s Friday afternoon and they agreed to hold a series of meetings with you on Monday and Tuesday. This is great news!
Since this big fish is in another city thousands of miles away you jump on the internet to book your flight and hotel room. But every website, every airline and hotel company you visit has nothing about available flights or rooms. They all direct you to fill out a form or call them to book. So you spend 90 minutes filling out all the forms because it’s now after 5:30pm and everyone’s gone home for the weekend. What do you do? Ask to change your meetings? Wait to confirm a flight until Monday morning?
Thankfully this scenario does not happen. Airlines and hotels understand business doesn’t stop at 5:30pm. We’ve been able to book our flights and hotel rooms online for nearly 20 years and before that there were call centers. We can easily schedule face time with our customers, confident we’ll be able to book travel options instantly.
Now imagine you jump on the internet and book your flight and hotel room for next week. Since this is a big fish you want to impress them; you want them to feel confident about doing business with you. You search the internet for professional meeting rooms near their offices. Uh oh, back to the scenario I just described above. You have to wait until someone is in the office to book a meeting room.
Unfortunately this scenario does happen, and not just when traveling to another city.
It’s About the Customer Experience
People have been booking hotels, flights and cars online in real-time for nearly 20 years. We want instant confirmation and expect the ability to book online at any time. Yet, while technology solutions do exist which enable meeting room operators to sell their inventory online, not many are doing so. It’s a major customer service failure.
Why? I don’t get it. It used to be expensive to develop your own platform to do this. Ten years ago it was cost prohibitive to offer this convenience when few people were web savvy. But today there are several companies offering affordable solutions to sell online or through mobile devices.
It’s no longer about offering a convenience, but rather meeting the expectations of our customers.
Succeeding in the New Economy
Here’s the thing, our industry’s success is driven by our customers’ success. We support our customers by delivering exceptional customer experiences, by providing solutions that keep them lean. The way people work and do business has changed. The way people b