October 21, 2007

How NOT to treat your customers?

I read lot of books on businesses and the best practices in customer handling. I personally experienced how not to handle a customer. There is much more you can learn from a bad experience than from normal stories about customer satisfaction. Customers no longer wants to be just remain satisfied. Companies need to find ways to keep their customers in happy mood, because, every customer would find fault with companies only.

Here goes the story. I stayed at Saville Hotel (2, Bond Street, Sydney) in during my official visit in the last week of September. I was not aware of my check-out time on the final day and I assumed my company had made the bookings until evening 5pm (My mistake). When I was at work, my company contacted me on that day at 1 pm saying the room is needed immediately and I have to vacate soon. I replied them that I can vacate as soon as the meeting gets over and told to inform the hotel that I would be vacating at 4pm. As I was busy with a meeting which ended at 4 pm, I could come to Hotel by 4.15 pm only to find all my belongings were kept in the reception storage. That is very reasonable because of my mistake.

I have been informed by your staff that all my contents are safely removed from the room (wow..thank you!) and they were presented to me. However, there were few items missing from my luggage - which I had kept in the room. I could not check all my belongings there - but, I noticed some movie dvds which I bought in Sydney were missing in my suitcase. I told the staff that I had kept them on the table - they could have never missed them. As I had little time for my flight, I did not have enough time to do a check and verification with room cleaning services. I gave my home address and asked them to mail the 6 DVDs - thankfully, after few days it arrived by post.The story was not over yet.

When I reached home from Sydney, the list  of missing content grew bigger  and bigger. They are just petty items such as  my  Mobile Charger,  night suit, some groceries which I purchased  that wont be available in Hamilton (regional country town, right?). They would cost may be $150 or less.

I sent an email to the Saville Management Group - just no reply. I gave them a feedback, no reply. Mmm..that's how they work and live.

I did not have any problem in people removing my stuff from hotel room because someone was waiting for occupation. What annoyed me is, how irresponsible they were with my personal belongings. I spent a day in getting those petty stuff. I would never again think of staying at Saville Group of Hotels.

Now, you know how to loose a customer (or may be more than one!).

Incidentally, there was an incident that happened on the same trip with a regional airlines which runs its service from Melbourne to Portland. That showed me how to impress your customers and keep them happy.

I will post that story in few days.

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