I was at the Wynn Las Vegas last weekend for a little getaway (and yes, I did win at the tables, thanks for asking).
While checking in at a restaurant at the Wynn, the hostess explained that our request to be seated outside would take about 45 minutes if we wanted to wait. If not, then they could take us in the downstairs dining section which had views of outdoors. Perfect.
Another hostess then came to seat us and promptly showed us to our table in the corner upstairs, with a view of nothing. Before sitting, we explained that the other hostess said we would be going downstairs. This hostess explained to us that we weren’t in dress code (nice linen pants, a beautiful shirt and a pair of dress sandals weren’t dress code because the sandals were open-toed).
Instead of alerting us to the dress code when we made the reservation, or when we walked up to the hostess stand, they chose to seat us out in the wasteland with the rest of the non-dress code adhering misfits. I, of course was somewhat perturbed. The hotel room was a five-minute walk away and a change of shoes was simple.
I considered canceling the reservation given the arrogance of, and lack of communication by the staff. But I changed my shoes and went back. Wrong move. The table was nice but the service was lousy, with empty plates after each course sitting at the table up to 10 minutes, constantly empty water glasses made me feel as if I was outside in the actual desert, and dessert menus weren’t offered at all. So we said, “check please”.
And that only made things worse. As the check came, I took a look and realized I just ate the most expensive piece of fish I have ever had in my life. The restaurant’s claim to fame is that all of their seafood is flown in from the Mediterranean. Well, my fish must have bought his ticket at the last minute AND flown first class given what I paid for it.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
You can indeed judge a book by its cover.
An interaction with a hostess that was as unpleasant as I experienced should have been foreshadowing for the entire experience.
And so it is with retail. Your customers are judging you everyday by the cover you present. Your window displays are your front cover. Your greeting when they enter is your front cover. Your phone manners are your front cover. Your website if you have one is your front cover. They all speak volumes about what customers or potential customers can expect their experience to be.
So take a good hard look at your front cover and make sure it’s representative of the story you’re trying to tell. After all, if you have a great story but your cover doesn’t communicate that, then no one is going to pick it up to read anyway.