HPMD Quotes & Sources
Ron Zemke, in The Service Edge, tells the following story:
"Not long ago, we met up with Chip Bell on our way to check in at the Long Wharf Marriott in Boston. He couldn't wait to tell us about the recovery process he'd just observed at the hotel's front desk. A traveler had been attempting to check in, only to be told that the hotel was overbooked and no room was available for him.
"I'm sorry," Chip had heard the manager on the desk explain. "We're overbooked, and even though you have a reservation, I'm afraid we don't have a room for you this evening. I know this isn't acceptable, and we apologize for it. What I've done is taken the liberty of making a reservation for you at a hotel near here. Just take this card to the front desk at the Parker House. They're expecting you. I know you're upset. I would be too in your place. But I hope you'll find the accommodations there as acceptable as here. And here's ten dollars. That should cover the cab ride over there, plus the tip."
Hardly mollified, the guest had taken the note and the cash and walked away muttering to himself. Chip, however, had stuck around, so he saw an already good example recovery extended to include follow-up. As the disgruntled traveler walked out to the cab stand, the desk manager turned to an associate and said, "He doesn't look like he's very happy with us yet. Give him about fifteen minutes to get over there, get registered, and up to his room. Then call him up and ask him if the accommodations arc acceptable. While you're at it, invite him to come back tomorrow morning and have breakfast, as our guest, on our concierge level. Tell him we'll leave an envelope in his name with the concierge with a note for the hostess at the restaurant. That ought to do it."
We don't know if it did for that particular traveler. But it did for us. That's because when we walked up to the desk and asked for the room reserved in our name, the manager gave us a professional smile and said, "I'm sorry. We're overbooked this evening, and even though you have a reservation, I'm afraid we don't have a room. I know this isn't acceptable, and we apologize for it. What I've done is taken the liberty of making a reservation for you at the Parker House . . . " We let him work his way through the whole recovery process, and we were just as impressed when we were the object of the effort as we had been when we'd heard about it happening to somebody else."
The moral of the story: handling problems well turns angry customers into loyal fans.
© Copyright 1996, 2000, HP Management Decisions Ltd., All Rights Reserved.
|Author:||Zemke, Ron with Dick Schaaf|
|Title:||The Service Edge|
|Place (City):||New York|
|Categories:||Customer Service, Case Studies|