Am I making you envious with all of these posts about our Japanese vacation? OK, I promise to stop writing about it! But indulge me one more time…
I’d stayed in one of our hotels, in Kyoto, on a previous trip to Japan four years ago. As a devotee of one particular hotel chain (and its loyalty scheme!), we’d booked into the same place – but I’d warned Vic (my wife) not to have high expectations of the place. Back in 2005, it had just been taken over – and the whole place was slightly run down for a supposedly five-star establishment.
Still, we were determined to be positive, and stepped off the bullet train at Kyoto Station with hope in our hearts. We’d printed off the details from the hotel’s website of their “remote concierge” desk at the station, where our luggage would be taken from us and we’d be shown onto the free shuttle bus that would transport us to the hotel. Only one problem: said concierge desk was no longer there; there was no signage for the hotel anywhere to be found. (Later, it turned out that there’s a small typewritten sign taped to the wall).
So we took a cab, arrived at the hotel – and joined a long, long queue to check in. That done, we were asked to take a seat so that a member of staff could take us and our luggage up to our room. Nigh on fifteen minutes later, we were still waiting. And then our room key appeared in paperwork claiming we’d been upgraded given our ‘Platinum’ guest status; we actually hadn’t – we’d been given precisely the same Executive Room that we’d paid for.
So much, so bad. But then it got better – the room was great, the staff lovely, the facilities refurbished throughout, the hotel’s restaurants truly outstanding.
There’s a comparable initial experience for many proposal evaluators. They approach the task with pre-conceived ideas about the bidder – pre-disposed, in many cases, not to like the proposal. And then the document arrives in amateurish packaging, in boring binders bought off the shelf at Staples, with poorly-designed covers and a dull layout that makes them think that the evaluation is going to be hard work. By the time they get to read the text, is it any wonder that they’re looking for excuses to give you low scores? If, as a proposal manager, you don’t think through the whole of the customer’s evaluation journey, you’re rarely going to optimise your scores no matter how good your content.