Great design should look good and work!

Now back from holiday and I have to say the hotels we chose based on previous customers’ feedback all met our expectations. That doesn’t mean they were all perfect!

One of the hotels was very new. It had been trading for just five months and, on the face of it, it looked beautiful. Stylish and contemporary with individually designed rooms.

A stylish hotel room

However the Hotel Inspector could have had a field day. It was the lack of attention to detail that let the hotel down.

The room came equipped with a mini bar but no glasses. The buffet breakfast table offered cereals but no milk! There was no air conditioning in the bedrooms and the small window didn’t encourage air circulation. However my biggest gripe was in the en-suite. Again beautifully designed and making good use of available space but with a fundamental problem: it was impossible to retain water in the handbasin.

As the picture below illustrates the plug was integral to the tap, you simply have to pull up the lever to secure the plug. Easy! Not when the designer mirror is too large and too low to allow the lever to be pulled up!

The mirror is too low and too bulky to allow the lever to be pulled up to seal the sink.

What a shame that form over took function in such a lovely place and there are really no excuses.

This experience reminded me just how important it is for business owners to check even the smallest details. We should check out our facilities and use our own services. We must put ourselves in our customers’ shoes. We need to give customers a mechanism for drawing our attention to problems they encounter whilst doing business with us. One of the greatest lessons that I learned from my Marks and Spencer training was the value of the morning inspection.

Start every day with eyes wide open looking at all aspects of your business environment. What is the first impression your customers get? Look out for small details. Are notices up to date and smart? Do you still have stock of the items on display in the window? Are flower arrangements alive and well? Are there any trip hazards waiting for unsuspecting customers or staff? Do all the light bulbs work? Is there still ink in the pens and are pencils sharp?

It is often said that ‘you never get a second chance to make a good first impression’. This is absolutely right but it is equally important that the second, third and later impressions are also good if you want to attract repeat business which is the lifeblood of any business.

Why not go and take a fresh look at your business now before your customers spot the problems you missed?

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