Barriers to Business: The Six Dollar Bottle of Water

bottled-waterLet’s imagine you are traveling, probably on business, and you’ve just arrived at the hotel. You are a “valued member” of the chain’s affinity program, earning many points during the year. The desk clerk welcomes you back by name and asks how your trip was. He then lets you know you’ve been upgraded to a suite and hands you coupons for drinks during happy hour and breakfast in the morning. “Wonderful!” you think, “This is why I stay here.”

Arriving at the room you notice the view, the fluffy, comfy bed linens and the free wi-fi. “It can’t get any better than this.” You unpack your laptop, plug in, get online and start firing out e-mails. As you work you reach for one of the bottles of water conveniently located on the desk. You’re about to open it when you notice the tag hanging from the plastic cap – $6.00. $6.00!?!

Everything the hotel has done right is for naught. When someone asks how your trip was, there is a strong likelihood that you will tell them about the $6 bottle of water before you mention the free eggs and bacon. You may even become indignant. “How dare they charge me $6 for a bottle of water? I’m a “diamond, honors, platinum, premier, gold member!” Will you think twice before booking your next business trip at that hotel? Probably. Will you tell the hotel why? Probably not. This is the danger of the $6 bottle of water and every organization has them – yours included.

Work to to avoid the $6 Bottles of Water that damage (destroy?) your customer loyalty.  What are they?  Are they really necessary? Ask the tough questions and take some risks.  I guarantee the return on investment for good customer care far exceeds $6.00.