It was around 5am in the morning and I was sat in an Airport lounge, still tired from having got up at ‘silly o clock’ in the morning to catch my flight.
Anyway, having passed through security I was hungry and unusually for me fancied a full English Breakfast. Yes, a ‘fry up’.
I made a bee-line for the first likely outlet and, having taken a cursory glance at the menu, I saw the words ‘Ultimate Breakfast’. Now my eyes are not what they used to be, indeed I need ‘specs’ for reading nowadays, but having spotted two rashers of bacon, two eggs and two sausages that was enough for me not to break stride as I passed over the threshold of the ‘restaurant’.
I queued like everyone else in an orderly fashion before attending the bar (I cannot remember a time when a central orderly queue has formed for a bar, but I am an Englishman so I respect protocols), and then approached a surly looking lady behind the counter.
She took my order of the ‘Ultimate Breakfast’ and table number (well actually I just pointed to one of the many tables available), and then asked me if I wanted toast, to which I replied of course. Assuming like every other establishment where I had placed such an order that it was included in the price of a ‘full’ English breakfast! I fleetingly thought it was an odd question but she impatiently followed it up with:
‘What drink do you want?’, to which I responded that I wanted a coffee.
She then curtly informed me; ‘That’ll be £15.70’. I spluttered out that I was sure it said the ‘Ultimate Breakfast’ was £10.95 on the menu. She advised that the requested toast and coffee were extra.
What happened shocked me so much that I nearly dropped my hand luggage!
She softened her tone and asked; ‘Would you like to pay a gratuity’.
Was it her absent manner of friendly order handling?
Or maybe the pressing of the respective buttons on the till?
When I responded with a shocked and mystified answer of ‘No’ her manner returned to the norm.
‘Are you paying by card or cash?’, she barked.
Was it tiredness, shock, hunger, the realisation I was a captive audience or the instant realisation I may not have time to go elsewhere before my flight was called, that led to me to timidly hand over my card? I genuinely do not know, may be a bit of all of the aforementioned, because in such circumstances I would have normally responded with ‘FORGET IT’.
As I sat at my table my disbelief subsided as I was distracted by yet another Social Media notification. A few minutes later my coffee arrived, soon followed by my ‘lovingly prepared’ food. Yes I am being sarcastic as it looked better than it tasted, and that was something.
Quite irked by my whole experience I decided to post a Social Media media update to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The latter I almost I didn’t do because it was more of a personal matter, but I put a business spin on it. Here was the post (bear in mind I was very tired having just had around 2 hours sleep):
Don’t forget to deliver the VALUE (or the CUSTOMER JOURNEY).
This morning I ordered a full English breakfast at The Meridan at Birmingham International Airport.
The cost £16! And I have to say the food and coffee were very average.
I often encourage my clients to raise prices because they deliver so much value, but YOU MUST REMEMBER TO DELIVER THE VALUE.
At the point of ordering I was then asked if I wanted to add a gratuity before I had received any service!
Whoever has planned the Customer journey clearly has not thought it through.
Deliver value, give the customer a great experience and you will reap the rewards because too many firms are failing to do.
Now I switched my phone off as I boarded the plane and did not think more about it.
If at this point you are wondering what all this blog is about, then you will be pleased to know I am about to get to the point.
‘Hooray’, I hear you cry.
Well I had to set the scene, didn’t I?
Anyway, only having hand luggage (as I was off to my property in Spain), whilst I waited for the Fly-Drive company to bring my car I picked up some Social Media updates. It was still early morning in the UK but already I had a few comments, most agreeing with the outrageous cost of the breakfast.
However, over the coming hours and days the response erupted.
My first surprising point was that pretty much everyone focussed on the price and observations over the quality of the breakfast, but hardly anyone commented on the request for a ‘gratuity’ before the service or product had been delivered!
Finally after 5 days I picked up a comment from one person that commented that they would not have bothered over the cost or quality of such a breakfast given where I was and the circumstances, but they were appalled at the request for a tip. The comment ended with
‘Asking for tips is just plain wrong.’
And this was my over-riding issue.
The price and quality irked but the request for a ‘gratuity’ tipped the balance (no apology for the pun) on whether I should post this on LinkedIn or not.
I too feel this is a bridge too far.
However, I am so glad I did post it to LinkedIn because I got something worth far more that the breakfast for my £15.70.
Oh yes, I got a lesson on how to engage on LinkedIn instead of my until then poor statistics.
Here are the statistics:
My previous 10 LinkedIn Articles/Shares that had covered business tips, insights, recommendations and even a post about ‘National Customer Service’ week had amassed a total ‘View’ Count of 1028.
However, 6 days after posting my ‘breakfast’ update I had amassed 18,641 ‘Views’ and it is still rising!
On top of this, the same aforementioned business posts on my Facebook Page had far more comments and views than on Linked In, whereas the breakfast post got just 248 Views.
Who said Facebook was for personal stuff and LinkedIn was just for business?
I keep learning, engage with my pages and you will too!