Recently, we had some experiences with sales representatives and businesses that reminded us all how important it is to have clear communication online and offline. In fact, although we are sharing about other businesses and people, please don’t think Starr Host is perfect. We actually have hired business coaches this year to help us “see the plank in our own eyes”, get on track and transform into the best company we can be this year to serve all of you.

So here are a few ideas of improvement we got from our recent experiences.

Our Bed: Mis-Communication

Recently our Tempur-Pedic mattress of 10 years kicked the bucket and we were in need of a new bed. As you know when you go to a furniture or mattress store you are usually greeted by a sales representative that assists you and of course if you purchase, they get a commission. Well on this day we went around, tried all the beds and found one that was very comfortable and a good price for the quality.  At this store things are negotiable if you pay cash or finance etc.

So with pen and paper in hand we asked the sales person how much this bed was and a few more. He got out his iPhone calculator and gave us the prices. I very clearly wrote the prices down. When we made our final decision and were ready to proceed, he directed us to a manager to take payment. The manager started to ring up a different and higher price, I showed him the price I was quoted he said fine and went on with the transaction. Then the sales representative came over and disputed the amount he told me. I showed him the exact number he had calculated and told us. He got angry and started to act a little unprofessional. I clearly stated that I was not going to pay more than the amount I was quoted and was responded with the sales person saying “whatever” and walking away. The manager honored the price I was quoted and we have a new bed.

The point we can take from this is let’s be clear and concise when we communicate and if we make a mistake, take responsibility for it and above all else stay professional.

We didn’t even get a “thank you” or “goodbye” when we left. I am most positive the sales associate still made a commission on our purchase but unfortunately he has lost our future business.

Our Hotel Stay: Misrepresentation

We also went on a weekend retreat to a local inn that we thought was going to be fabulous. Mary has attended conferences there and eaten in the restaurant and felt the quality of the inn’s room would be the same… it was not. The Jacuzzi suite was disappointing with a small Jacuzzi tub, small shower with mold, and outdated furniture. Don’t get me wrong, we still had a great time, but the quality did not match what the rest of the inn was like and they had a misrepresentation on their website.

Pictures of rooms displayed better quality than what was there. Secondly, their web pricing was significantly different than their call in price, which we did. Almost $25 difference per night. So very diplomatically my wife voiced her concern, which resulted in a $50 deduction of our bill. It really wasn’t our intention but the inn’s price did not match the quality. For the same price we could have had a much more quality room at our favorite place, the Hilton Niagara Falls.

Point here is make sure you’re representing your business and services honestly online and that your quality matches your pricing.

Our Financial Services person: Poor Non-Verbal Communication

We recently had a visit from a recommended financial representative.  He scheduled an appointment to come to our home since he was going to be in town. This next part is my wife’s story as she notices these things. When he arrived, we took his coat and he asked “Do you want me to take my shoes off?” It’s winter and snowy outside, you don’t see us in shoes, and although we have green yellow carpets, he should have just automatically taken his shoes off… Minus 1 coming in.

Secondly he got out his notebook planner and fumbled to find a pen, then said, “Oh well I shouldn’t need it”… minus 2 points. My wife got him a writing utensil as we were both interviewing each other to see if this was a good match. And he wasn’t going to take any notes?

Taking your shoes off, honoring your clients by taking notes, these might seem like little things but to my wife they were keys. What we say in our non-verbal communication is very important and some believe it may be even more important than what we say. For this poor financial representative it was part of the deciding factor not to do business with him.

Look at your website, what does it say about you without using words. Do you see things that could be improved? Remember, in business we want to communicate clearly, represent ourselves well and make sure that even without words we are honoring our clients and future clients.

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