|Future German landlords|
In two weeks, my husband, two kids and I are leaving for a trip to Germany. A trip I planned way too far in advance and had to reschedule due to an unforeseen AAU basketball tournament my son had to play in, and a required college statistics course my daughter is taking while home for the summer. (She was supposed to take the Summer I session. She enrolled in the Summer II session. Ah, well.)
What does all this have to do with German landlords?
In rescheduling our trip, I was forced to re-book our accommodations. Accommodations that took me forever to book in the first place because I have this affliction called: I-can’t-make-up-my-mind. And once I do, I might change it because I also have the dual affliction of: I-have-a-hard-time-committing.
Being one who can’t make up her mind and has a hard time committing, I drove landlords of small vacation rentals all over Germany cuh-razy with e-mails asking about this and that: walking distance to the city centre, laundry facilities (most apartments have washers, few have dryers), inquiring about sleeping arrangements (ick and weird if two opposite-gendered teen siblings have to share a bed, likely to be small), blah-blah. I’ll be surprised if they don’t ban me from entering the country once we touch down at Frankfurt International Airport, the airport we will fly out of one week later unless they send me back to the good ol’ U.S. of A. – stat!
I finally settled on two locations, Heidelberg (home of the oldest university in Germany) and Nuremberg (90 percent of which was destroyed in WWII). We will stay three nights in each city.
In the course of settling in on the two vacation rentals – one, a tiny apartment; the other, a tiny apartment with a balcony – I had many, many questions, which resulted in numerous and potentially irritating e-mails from me to two separate landlords: Erika and Gisela. (Kind of sounds like Hansel and Gretel.)
You would never know it, though. That I’d irritated either one, that is. They answered my e-mails promptly and in great detail, but not so great I got bored reading them.
I felt like I’d acquired two new best friends.
What makes me link their behavior to good marketing, customer service and all that other stuff?
Photos of the washing machine in sparkling clean bathroom.
They did not judge me when I said we were going to rent a car even though all those people on Trip Adviser thought I was nuts: train travel in Germany, as they repeatedly insisted, is highly efficient.
I like to think I’m no high-maintenance diva, but the landlords’ fine treatment made me all predisposed to them and their tiny apartments.
So: for anyone who is trying to market something – a book, medical-grade skin care products, graphic arts services, software, organic kumkwats, whatevuh – treating people well, putting their anxieties at ease, making them feel completely normal for renting a car even though German trains zip along at 1000 MPH, apparently! – well, let’s just say these are the kinds of things that go a long way toward making a sale.
Now. In the spirit of “when in Rome” I suppose I should say something in German.
Danke für das Lesen.
Thank-you for reading.
What have you learned about marketing, salesmanship, customer service, what-have-you from German landlords…or…er…an atypical client/vendor experience? Huh? Do tell!