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Old 04-21-2002, 01:45 AM   #1
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HOTEL CUSTOMER SERVICE - Discuss!

So, I was staying at a Sheraton this weekend and thought I would share an anecdote about customer service.

Background of Hotel: Hotel/Convention Center with a parking lot you have to pay to park in at the Hotel, yet not owned by the Hotel. Separate company altogether as it turns out.

We arrive at the Sheraton on Thursday night - we are "preferred" guests under a certain membership plan, and thusly entitled to free room upgrades and free parking. We are at the front desk checking in, getting the low down about our stay, and the Hotel, etc. The counter person describes our room and it's amenities. When we ask about the "amenities" she is not able to tell us what they are - she has to ask her manager, and then basically repeats to us the room features she already mentioned. No amenities to be found other than an "upgraded" balcony overlooking a dirty roof and access to a "Concierge Club" that is ransacked with overturned chairs and food remains strewn about. The shower drain doesn't drain. The air-conditioner doesn't work.

We stay until Saturday morning.

As we are doing the auto check-out via the TV, we notice we have a $24 parking fee applied to our bill.

We have paid upwards of $30 coming and going to the booth jockey in the parking garage.

We call to dispute the charges to find out that they were "right" in double-billing us, and that we would need to talk to the booth jockey to have them take the charge off of our room. Mind you, the garage is a separate company from the Hotel - but yet they have access to our room bill??

We speak to the booth jockey who has no clue how to help us because we weren't given reciepts every time we came/returned to the garage. Therefore, she cannot vouch that we spent what we said we did.

Back to the front desk, they inform us we were to have received a "Parking Permit" upon arrival on Thursday. We DID NOT. We proceeded to tell them this no less than 10 times!!!

Finally, after 20 minutes of aggravated banter, of us telling them over and over that we were not given a parking permit or any reciepts, or any instructions forthwith - they agreed "as a courtesy, to meet us half-way"

HALF-WAY?

Sheraton refused to take responsibility for the fact their staff member neglected to furnish us a parking permit. We knew not of the need of one. Or the need for reciepts because this was not indicated at check-in. They absolutely would not accept that we were telling the truth, and would not listen to us - we were calm and rational, not yelling.

20 minutes later - after we related the scenario with the initial check-in person (the Amenities fiasco), they finally got that we DID NOT have a Permit. They took the parking fee off and basically politely asked us to leave.

It's not my style to directly name companies and give bad PR.

I would like to hear about any of you all's bad Hotel experiences.

ALRIGHT GANG!!! DISCUSS!!!!

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Old 04-21-2002, 02:00 AM   #2
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Where do I start! We have experienced problems at many different hotels in California and Nevada...here are just a few:

A smoke alarm that went off at 5 a.m. and being accused by the staff of smoking because "they don't go off for no reason"

Being given your room key and when you open the door, you not only see luggage but someone in the shower with the door open

When you are given a new room, the key doesn't work and you are treated like a criminal by the staff when you need help getting the door open

Making a reservation for a non-smoking room 2 months in advance but being told at check in "we just don't have any non-smoking rooms available"

Making a reservation for a room with an in room jacuzzi and being told at check in "sorry, we don't have any available"

Arriving for 3 p.m. check in and being told that no rooms were ready and waiting until 4:30 with our luggage (no storage facilities)

Reserving 3 rooms in Vegas with one credit card but not being allowed to check in until all 12 guests were present

We were married at the Anaheim Hilton and planned on spending our wedding night there also. We booked a suite 6 months in advance but when we checked in, we were given a standard room...with 2 beds. Not what you expect on your wedding night

The worst time though had to at the Ramada Inn in Palm Springs...apparently the girl at the front desk didn't like our attitude or something because she put us in a room in a wing of the hotel that was being remodeled. We were the only guests in the entire wing and our room was only half furnished. We were at the farthest end of the corridor on the 3rd or 4th floor with no elevators. It was all done in funky 70's decor and very smelly and musty. We asked for a new room in the populated section of the hotel.

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Old 04-21-2002, 02:39 AM   #3
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Wow, I guess my stay at the Austin Marriott a few weeks ago was better than I thought!

At least we got a parking permit and could come and go freely from the garage. If I were you, HelloAngel, and if you're feeling motivated, I would write a letter to the company. I have a friend whose parents are really wealthy. When they had problems with hotels, they wrote letters. And when they wrote letters, they got things fixed and they got free stuff. Most hotels hate unsatisfied guests, especially if the higher-ups hear about it.

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Old 04-21-2002, 09:20 AM   #4
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Hmmm...I don't have a bad story to share, but I'd recommend Best Westerns to people. My mother used to be a front desk manager at one for about 8 to 10 years or so. If customers complained or if something was wrong, she was always sure to do whatever she could to fix it. We also stayed at other Best Westerns when we travelled, and the people were always great.

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Old 04-21-2002, 09:43 AM   #5
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I remember in Providence I stayed at the Holiday Inn right next to the venue. I remember the day I checked in I left a key at the desk for Lady Lemon who was driving in with a friend from Ohio for the show in case I wasnt there when they got in. The guy at the desk on the night shift was a complete and total ass when they checked in, saying there was no key left for them, etc... and made them call the room at 4am for me to let them in with the attitude like - we'll you're going to wake her up either way. It wasnt that big a deal since we were all planning on going to get in line once they got there anyways - this guy didnt know that. The next morning I went down to the desk to say something, and the key for Kris was right there waiting to be picked up! The hotel itself and everything else was fine though, the guy was just a prick.

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Old 04-21-2002, 10:20 AM   #6
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Customer service in general doesn't exist anymore. Not just at hotels.

Three reasons:

1. Companies don't want to spend the money to adequetely train their employees,

2. they don't pay their employees adequetely,

3. more importantly, customers are just downright MEAN! and because of the first three reasons, it's tough for an inadequetely trained employee to care because they're not being paid to put up with rude, degrading a**holes!

I don't mean to put all of the onus on the customer. The reality is that many people in customer service are just plain idiots as well (but you have to hire idiots, otherwise the companies couldn't get away with these appalling salaries). Being in the customer service industry for many years, I know what I'm talking about. I spend a LOT of time with this.
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Old 04-21-2002, 10:53 AM   #7
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Oh
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Old 04-21-2002, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by muh2o:
Customer service in general doesn't exist anymore. Not just at hotels.

Three reasons:

1. Companies don't want to spend the money to adequetely train their employees,

2. they don't pay their employees adequetely,

3. more importantly, customers are just downright MEAN! and because of the first three reasons, it's tough for an inadequetely trained employee to care because they're not being paid to put up with rude, degrading a**holes!

I don't mean to put all of the onus on the customer. The reality is that many people in customer service are just plain idiots as well (but you have to hire idiots, otherwise the companies couldn't get away with these appalling salaries). Being in the customer service industry for many years, I know what I'm talking about. I spend a LOT of time with this.
That all makes a lot of sense, muh2o. I will admit that I have a preconceived notion about customer service people in general (those I deal with on the telephone, anyway) and it isn't too positive, but as of late I have been consciously adjusting my attitude and trying to treat these folks better.

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Old 04-21-2002, 11:57 AM   #9
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I agree.

And as someone who has worked in customer service for most of my employment history - I can say that I treat these people with the utmost respect - and I desire the same.

It's when money is at stake, and when a company cannot and will not take responsibility for an issue that I get frustrated. Calmly frustrated, mind you, in carefully measured responses.

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Old 04-21-2002, 01:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by HelloAngel:
I agree.

And as someone who has worked in customer service for most of my employment history - I can say that I treat these people with the utmost respect - and I desire the same.

It's when money is at stake, and when a company cannot and will not take responsibility for an issue that I get frustrated. Calmly frustrated, mind you, in carefully measured responses.

Absolutely. When a customer has a legitimate gripe after spending their hard earned money, I will bend over backwards to make sure the issue is rectified. But more often than not, customers deem it fit to bend policies to meet their own selfish satisfaction, without any regard to others. And the way they talk is just absolutely mind-bending.

The people who wonder why customer service has degraded so badly over the years need to look no further than the way THEY treat others. As a human being, you can only take so much abuse. It really can be that bad sometimes.

Your situation was handled very poorly by the staff at the hotel. The fact they were willing to meet you half-way indicates to me they admitted to at least the possibility it could have happened. They should have taken full responsibility for it right off the bat. And the condition of the room was ridiculous. The manager should have come out and begged your forgiveness, on top of vouchers for your next visit. I'll tell you, if I'm driving long distance, and I have travelled for hours and I'm just wasted from the drive, and I come to a town where the only place to stay is a Sheraton, I'd keep driving to the next town. Wouldn't care if it's 100 miles away. Considering how competetive the hotel business is, I'm surprised at how this was handled.
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Old 04-21-2002, 01:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by muh2o:
Absolutely. When a customer has a legitimate gripe after spending their hard earned money, I will bend over backwards to make sure the issue is rectified. But more often than not, customers deem it fit to bend policies to meet their own selfish satisfaction, without any regard to others. And the way they talk is just absolutely mind-bending.

The people who wonder why customer service has degraded so badly over the years need to look no further than the way THEY treat others. As a human being, you can only take so much abuse. It really can be that bad sometimes.

Your situation was handled very poorly by the staff at the hotel. The fact they were willing to meet you half-way indicates to me they admitted to at least the possibility it could have happened. They should have taken full responsibility for it right off the bat. And the condition of the room was ridiculous. The manager should have come out and begged your forgiveness, on top of vouchers for your next visit. I'll tell you, if I'm driving long distance, and I have travelled for hours and I'm just wasted from the drive, and I come to a town where the only place to stay is a Sheraton, I'd keep driving to the next town. Wouldn't care if it's 100 miles away. Considering how competetive the hotel business is, I'm surprised at how this was handled.
Exactly. Yes yes yes.

Sheraton handled it horribly - and this particular Sheraton was in a very wealthy neighborhood in a major city. The reason we stayed there is because we are frequent travelers and under the Starwood Preferred Guest Program. This program allots us "points" that can be applied to lots of perks, etc. This Sheraton did not deliver, unfortunately - and we are very patient, non-abrasive people.

What really got under our skin was their neglect to listen to our issue. We had to repeat the issue and factors no less than 10 times before they even started to believe us. I believe it might have been a case where they assumed they had the problem pegged and were just waiting for us to finish talking so that they could speak regurgitated policy and previous canned responses.

It didn't help that we had requested local phone calls be removed from our bill in addition to the parking fiasco. Get this - they told us local calls were free and clear.. They neglected to tell us that local calls were free up to an hour - at which point they proceeded to charge us the entirety of the 1 hour 10 minute local call - not just the 10 minutes that went over the unclarified hour limit.

Also, and this is by no means isolationist - but the front desk personnel and parking garage attendant spoke very broken English - and did not appear to understand us much at all. It seemed that they were trained to understand the most common circumstances and and nothing beyond that. They never once deferred to management. And what's sad is that we had originally spoken to Management on the phone before we ever approached the front desk at check-out. The manager decided to inform the personnel of the situation and told them to deal with it - the management did not even want to further assist!!!!

At any rate - it was eye-opening. I am a very rational person. But they were over the line: not listening, assuming we were lying for whatever reason. I realize many want a free lunch - but those of us who are honest, and make an honest buck and want to keep our honest bucks - should not be penalized, you know?

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Old 04-21-2002, 02:40 PM   #12
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Ms. Hello-
Please email me - diamondbruno9@aol.com
Thx.-
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Old 04-21-2002, 02:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diamond The U2 Patriot:
Ms. Hello-
Please email me - diamondbruno9@aol.com
Thx.-
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You've got mail.

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