It costs $75 more, do you want me to add that to the bill?

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   The blog title was what I heard as I attended a meeting at a hotel the other day and the sponsor asked for a wireless microphone.  The sponsor asked if there were any other options.  Yes, there was a portable speaker that was available for free.  The microphone was to be used to amplify the sound coming out of the computer’s speakers.  The big speaker was to hook into the computer and replace the computer speakers.
   The sponsor said that the speaker idea would work fine.  Hotel staff went and got the speaker unit, was not sure how to hook it up, however thought that they had it wired correctly.  The guest speaker was not sure of his equipment, however hooked it up, believing that the speaker would work.  Well, of course, you know where I am going– the speaker did not work, we used the computer speakers and all was well.
    As I thought about this interaction, I wondered how both the sponsor and the hotel found themselves in this situation?  The sponsor told me that she had ordered a microphone– nobody had told her about “free” speakers to be used with computers.  The hotel employee, obviously having been “beat” on previously, was sure to want an additional charge for something that should be provided with a rental room
    When you provide a service or benefit, are you clear what is included in the basic price of the quotation?  Do you “low ball” the estimate and then try and add on every little additional request?  Perhaps you make a bid and then expect to add some additional needs, if requested.
     Here is what I thought as I watched this event transpire.  The hotel is going into the dead season for this property.  The hotel was at best about 20% filled.  No other banquet rooms were being used and by the way that the staff talked, that was probably going to be the way it was for the rest of the month.  Now, looks to me that I would have not mentioned the microphone cost, just gotten it and given it to the event sponsor and thought no more.  However, I cannot fault the employee either.  I am sure that he “forgot” a couple of times and got a “whipping”, so he was real “gun shy” to become empowered and help the client.
    Research has shown that empowered employees are ones that always are able to increase your bottom line, increase sales and create great customer satisfaction no matter what business or industry they work in.  If your employees are not empowered, you should think hard about empowering each of them.  Give them the authority and responsibility to make decisions and then be held accountable for those decisions.
    Now, there is some education and teaching necessary prior to employee empowerment.  You need to show, demonstrate and teach your employees what you expect, how you want matters handled and what complications might arise.  There will be complications that will arise– however, in most cases, nothing is insurmountable!!
    In this case, I would have had the employee get the microphone, point out that normally there is a $75 cost associated with the microphone, however, today, it was included, complimentary, with the room.  Will I go back to this hotel if I am responsible for another event?  Probably, however, we would insure that all of the details are ironed out before the event.  Something to think about in your business!

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