It only takes one comment to ruin a good reputation

I recently had the pleasure of staying in a chain hotel. Now it is some time since I stayed at this particular chain and I have to say how pleasantly surprised I was with the cheerful and friendly staff I encountered this time. Nothing was too much trouble.

When I went for breakfast I was greeted by a friendly smiling face. This gave me the courage to ask if I only wanted a bacon sandwich would I have to pay for the full English breakfast buffet. I was politely advised this would be the case so I opted for the lower cost option of continental breakfast which included porridge. I decided to order a small bowl of porridge which promptly arrived. I asked if I could have some milk.  I was advised that the porridge was made with milk however the waitress brought some more to the table.

A few minutes later the waitress came across and said she had spoken with the chef who was in the process of making a bacon sandwich for me. “Fantastic” I thought. First class service. The waitress had listened to what I wanted and delivered.

I had booked for three nights having fully paid in advance for my stay. I needed to check out early as my plans had changed. I asked reception to cancel my booking for the third night.

“No problem leave it with us” came the reply. “We will post your refund under your door in just a few moments”.

Sure enough ten minutes later the cancellation and refund statement came under the door in a nice branded envelope. Another gold star for customer focus.

On the final night I was  in the restaurant with six delegates from the company I was working with in delivering a KAM training course. During the day I had been enthusing how good the customer service was at this establishment! Everything was going well. The food was excellent and the service was efficient. One of the guests who had really enjoyed his three courses was delivered his piping hot freshly made coffee. Dave politely asked if there were any mints or biscuits available. We were all astonished when the waitress exclaimed!

You are joking? This is a Beefeater. If you want a biscuit there is a vending machine in the hallway in the hotel. You will have to get them yourself

There I was about to pencil a letter of congratulations to the customer services manager of the hotel in question. This one comment became the hot topic of discussion around the table rather than the good food and service we had received up to that point. It just goes to show how one comment from one member of staff can change a gold star rating into ‘could do better’.

It aptly demonstrates how important it is to deliver excellent customer service 100% of the time – it only takes one comment to damage a good reputation.

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