Customer Service?

By Larry Danberger January 22, 2011

Customer service used to be about providing the best solution you could for your customer. The best value for their dollar. You want repeat business, and you don’t want a bad reputation. Most of all, you want to know that you’ve dealt with them honestly. We all know it costs more to bring customers back then it does to keep them, so treat them right and assure them they made a wise decision doing business with you. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking a burger, a software package, a car, or a hotel room.

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Regina Wingate hotel. It is 6pm Saturday night. I’m tired and cold (-16c outside). Why am I not relaxing in the room I paid for? Well they’ve decided to build a restaurant below, and this apparently requires a lot of drilling and hammering. Saturday night.

Now I understand and applaud the desire to expand, but I don’t understand why they put us directly above this construction, did they think we wouldn’t notice? We can’t even talk in the room due to the noise, the vibrations etc from this work.

Should I ask for a different room? Perhaps it will end soon. So I called the front desk. No answer. Okay I walk down, and ask how long it will be going on. The answer? They have an agreement with them to not disturb guests. Huh? What time will they be stopping? ‘well it’s almost 6 so they won’t be working now.’. Slight pause while the drilling continues, and she doesn’t seem to grasp the irony of what she is saying.

So I’m in the lobby, waiting. And trying to decide which hotel to switch to. I hear bits of conversations that others are complaining, and yes they will stop soon.

Makes me think about the products I have delivered over the years. Paid salary or consultant, services or products delivered, it’s all the same. Have I consistently delivered the best I could, or have I occasionally neglected my customers/clients? I like to think I’ve done the best possible, I can’t think of a time when I’ve knowingly taken advantage of a client. Win-win doesn’t mean beat them twice, it means fair value for both. But I have lost clients, with no explanation. So perhaps they didn’t see it the same as I did. We all get caught up in inflated value logic — ‘if they’re willing to pay n then obviously I’m worth more….’. And we all want to get paid as much as possible because hey what we do is I-M-P-O-R-T-A-N-T!

Perhaps it was the cost. I hope it was, since that would be something I could recognize and address. If any current or former clients are reading this, feel free to let me know.

Reminds me of a recent visit to the Calgary Tower restaurant, Sky360. Long story short: high cost, mediocre service and probable food poisoning due to uncooked pork and whatever was on that plate. I sent feedback that night and unfortunately the manager questioned why I didn’t complain to him directly while I was there. Does he really expect clients out for the evening to be tracking him down and arguing over service? That just does not seem appropriate to me. Giving him feedback so he can correct the failings does. Our out of town guests, who paid the price in several ways for this last evening in Calgary dinner, did have something to remember. A beautiful view on a rotating platform. And something to tell their friends — while in Calgary, never eat at the sky360. Sending gift certificates does not make up for shabby service and bad food, though a drink will help, and the view is great.

The construction hasn’t stopped, though they seem to be hammering with lighter taps, and there’s no more drilling. Hallway chatter the staff know clients are complaining, yet it continues. Seems petty to try change rooms now, or to check out. The staff seem pleasant. The room is clean. Internet works.

This is my last night here.

Regina Hotel