Came across a social media post yesterday by thebetterindia,
Which spoke about how Taj group of hotels has been able to imbibe “atithi devo bhava” as one of its core value.
Must admit that I have had wonderful experiences while staying with Taj in different cities.
But my first impression was certainly a disaster.
Us, a group of badminton team mates representing IIT Kanpur had gone to play inter IIT sports meet in IIT Bombay,
Most of us were visiting Mumbai for the first time in our lives,
And guess what, Gateway of India was on our list of places to visit,
Right opposite stood the Taj Mahal Palace, a beautiful architecture matching the grace that Gateway of India had to offer,
Afternoon, we all felt hungry and decided to have a rendezvous with The Taj.
Considering, it was a first for most of us who had been to a 5-star hotel,
We were really looking forward to it,
I still remember, it was 1:30 pm,
Having heard so much about the hotel from who’s who of society,
When the four of us decided to have a walk-in,
By the way, we were wearing casual sports t-shirts on the day,
Might have looked a bit shabby as well!
As we approached the entrance,
The big man, durbaan (doorman), a sardar ji,
Waved his hand,
As if ordering us to move aside and give way to a guy who had just stepped out of a beautiful BMW, to let him enter first,
In his same rude mannerism, he asked,
“What’s the purpose of your visit?”
“Oh, we are students and have heard so much about Taj that we thought we will give a visit”, one of my friends spoke in an excited tone.
“You cannot enter like this”, he spoke back.
“How can we enter then if not like this?“, all of us wondered what kind of privilege would require us to enter the hotel.
“Let me do my work, you cannot enter”, he seemed to have no reason for what so ever for not letting us enter.
We all thought there was no point arguing and we left.
They say, first impressions are the last impressions.
Well, not so, at least in my case,
Because every time I visited thereafter, I was impressed by the hospitality,
Though would certainly want to speak about few lessons that I learnt on the day,
Whether it’s a good thing or a bad one,
Limited in her ways, society perceives you by the way you dress on most occasions,
Some of us might say, that we don’t care,
It’s a choice, to each their own, how one wants to dress,
Society will have her own means of developing her perception.
At the same time, don’t judge a book by its cover!
A customer never forgets his/her first experience.
I know Taj is extremely proud of its core values,
Yet, a failure to be able to percolate these same values to each and every employee results in such bad customer experiences,
Which surely affects brand loyalty to begin with,
A bad word of mouth for the concerned.
Hence, extremely important, how and what each and everyone in a company communicates to her stakeholders,
Which in turn means having a fantastic mechanism of hiring and acculturation.
Nothing is so called perfect in this world,
As a startup founder or as CEO of a big company, if one gets entangled in the fame and adulation,
One tends to drift away from his/her core purpose,
As, there is always scope for improvement.
Considering Taj and the likes of Marriott, Leela etc. are the go to hotels for who’s who of our society in any case,
The General Managers and the senior leaders of their properties may want to take a cue,
When it comes to ensuring wonderful experiences for their clients and customers.
Source for the image: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g304554-d302179-Reviews-The_Taj_Mahal_Palace-Mumbai_Maharashtra.html, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dont-judge-book-its-cover-eliot-clarke