Thursday, November 12, 2009

Customer service and hospitality

When you go into a hotel or any type of business and you hear about customer service and hospitality, does it ever feel fake? The words ring hollow to often because they say them as long as you can bring money to them and it is a one way street. Once you need them to extend a favor or the hospitality back your way they just don't seem to care about you like they did before.

I've heard many frequent flyers and hotel chain members who complain about being one night or flight short of reaching the top level of membership and when they ask for the night to be given to them, they are told no. Yet when these companies need the business of the travelers, like now or after 9/11 they said and did all the right things to get people to come back and stay or fly with them. Soon after business was back to normal, they eased back and starting changing they way they handled frequent travelers needs.

Now I understand that businesses are in business to make money and I'm all for that but please don't be fake and pretend like you care so much about the customer. Yes, I've been in the hospitality industry for most of 20 years and most people that I've worked for truly care to keep the guest happy and it can be discouraging when you are told to do things a certain way and then at some point in begins to change and it is solely to save money.

Getting out and communicating with the public through Twitter, blogs, emails, newsletters and the like are great but people can see when you truly care and when you are just looking to get their money. They don't want to be nickeled and dimed to death but would be willing to pay a decent price to have everything included.

I would love to see the best of both worlds come together. The modern convenience and technology mixed with the old-school way of caring for the person right in front of you and not just seeing them as a dollar sign or a number.

As the economy changes and people reevaluate how they do business and whether or not they even have to travel will begin to see many businesses change how they treat the public. If not, they may not make it long term.

Southwest Airlines is a great example of that. They do things that make flying with them a joy. The other airlines don't and then they complain about the things that Southwest Airlines does. Change or close up shop may be the answer.

I just want the companies and businesses to do what they say and be genuine. Don't be shy about making money but don't try to rip everyone off in the process or be two-faced about it.

Thanks and have a good day.

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