Room service – another DUD in the hotel industry

There’s no answer when we call room service. Twice.

The reasons we hold strategy sessions in the hotel’s meeting rooms are for convenience, service, and food quality.

I go to the desk in the lounge only to find a room service attendant delivering food to the next room. We’re in luck!

I ask the young attendant, Daniel, ‘would you please take our room service order?’

“No” he replies.

I’m almost speechless, but manage to stammer, “No??!!”

“I can’t take your order. You’ll have to call my manager” Daniel instructs me.

“Are you with room service?” I ask, wishing I was at the Ritz Carlton, where every employee ‘owns the problem’ and is empowered to resolve it, including spending cash.

“Yes I am but I can’t take your order. Please call my manager.” Daniel persists. Gee, we’re in a room and we want service. How difficult is the ‘room service’ business model?

“Mr. Daniel, we’d like to call your manager, for several reasons, but no one is answering the phone in room service. Here is our order. Please take care of it.”

I’m amazed this is happening as I thrust our written order at Daniel. He tentatively takes it and then scoots down the hall like a mouse who just saw a cat. A hungry, angry cat.

The manager comes up, apologizes for the delay, reviews our order, and the food arrives in about ten minutes. Then the bill arrives. For a few bucks, they could have credited some of the bill for our inconvenience and elevated my respect for this fine hotel.

I spend thousands at this hotel each year for my premium membership, weekly client lunches, monthly meetings and the occasional dinner. I even recommended this hotel for a national symposium which was held last year with over 200 people attending and where I spoke on business growth. Maybe I should have spoken on customer service.

My client, also a premium member, and his management team, were similarly unimpressed.

The best comment was “I wonder if this is happening in our business?”

When things go wrong in your business, and they will, what are your processes for acknowledging the customer’s inconvenience, accepting responsibility and resolving the situation.

These are actually great opportunities to differentiate yourself from your competitors and strengthen customer loyalty. If you treat you customer well, they will actually brag about your great service. If you don’t, they’ll tell several people about your lousy service.

Never waste a customer mistake by ignoring or downplaying it. Celebrate your opportunity to provide a fantastic solution and you will strengthen customer loyalty, revenues and profits.

Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved. Phil Symchych


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