Customer Service Is About Listening To Customers, Not Throwing Money At Them
By Bob Phibbs
It’s a long slog from Albany to Vegas, even with upgraded flights.
So the morning after I arrived, when I went down to breakfast at the Renaissance Hotel, I just wanted to get my breakfast, read the New York Times, and hope the cold that I felt in my chest was anything but…
I wish you could have been there as I approached the counter at the restaurant. A guy in a suit and tie was helping a customer in front of me. Another woman stood next to the man watching him punch his computer screen.
After a couple minutes, I simply asked the woman behind the counter, “Can I just take a seat?” She said, “No. Could you just wait?” The Suit took the customer off to the side as the woman who asked me to wait explained it was her first day. We had a pleasant conversation until The Suit returned.
He demanded,“What’s your name? Are you staying at the hotel?” Yes, Phibbs, PHI
Pib,” he repeated as he punched the screen. No It’s PHI, Phibbs.
What’s your first name? Bob.
What’s your room number? 346. Geez, all of this just to sit down?
Clearly miffed, The Suit led me to a table and asked, “Do you want a paper?" No.
"OK. No more questions.” And with that he left me alone.
I ordered my tea, and the server asked if I would be charging it to my room.
“Yes,” I said, “The other guy already got all of that.”
“No.” he said, “We don’t get that. I need your name and room number.”
Has something like this happened to you as a customer?
It’s frustrating because you can’t figure out the logic behind what is happening.
After breakfast, I went over to the front desk just to let them know I would not be returning for the charade again, and I wanted the manager to know.
The pleasant young woman listened and went into mute mode which was fine. She got my room number and was going to have me speak with the restaurant manager. “No,” I said, “I’m sure that’s the guy in the suit training the new woman.”
“Here’s what I can do. I can give you $25 off.”
I interrupted her. “No, I don’t want money. I wanted you to understand what it felt like to be a customer here.”
Why has the customer service movement aligned with the marketing department to say that the only way you build loyalty is to throw money and discounts at the customer?
I think that has led to more abuse as many customers know they’ll get something off their bill if they just complain.
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