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A lesson learned

My wife and I stayed at a Happy Holiday type Inn, and returned to our room at Midnight and found the room not made up.  We called for bathroom supplies and the security man brought them promptly.  We were there for four nights because of a funeral.

The next morning I noticed the guaranty.  "If you are not completely satisfied call and we will make it right or your night is free".  We were paying $250 a night so I decided to call them and ask that the guaranty be applied.  I expected to get 1/2 night off because they had been so prompt at delivering the supplies the previous evening.  But it was impossible to make it right, because they did not send a maid to make up the room that night, which was the preferred solution. I was a little peeved that the room had not been cleaned.  If it was $89 I would have been less peeved.

So I called the front desk and found out how not to administer a guaranty.

The young lady immediately asked if I had the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.  Since I had personally removed it when we left the room, I knew full well we did not.  But the Front Desk Clerk had begun the process of transferring responsibility to me, the customer, and relieving the Inn of its responsibility.  She told me she would call me back.  This was a mistake.  The front desk staff should be empowered to make a decision - they are smart, competent and know the business.

I get a call back telling me that the "Do Not Disturb" sign was on my door and this is the reason the room was not made up.  This call came in minutes.  She was incorrect because I had taken the sign and personally slid it under the door.  And, as we left that morning and I went for the car, my wife had gone to the desk and asked them to make the room up.  Where do you go from here.  The clerk offered 50% off, which I had originally thought was appropriate.  But not now.  It is not nice to be called a person who does not tell the truth.

My wife got on the phone and told the Front Desk Clerk  what she knew about the situation and the Front Desk Clerk  told us she would call back.  I went to get the car.  When I came back in I checked out and found the hotel had taken a full night deduction.  I didn't thank them because I was truly miffed but thankful for the learning experience.

I hope you can learn from my experience.  If you guaranty, you guaranty.  Empower your staff to decide.  Make it easy to make your customer happy.  Keep good records (the Inn would have been happy to give a 50% deduction at the outset and I would have been happy to accept it, and the Front Desk Clerk should have had information about the security trip and the housekeeper should have made notes in the computer, and the Front Desk Clerk who fielded my wife's request should have made notes).

In coffee the margins are such that the records need not be cumbersome.  On beans it is good to know what people buy.  And you need to keep a record of how much they bought, so keeping both in the same place is easy.  But guaranty your product and then be easy.  Make it easy for the staff and the customer to call you on the guaranty.  If someone is asking about the guaranty you have a problem and it is best handled fast and easy.

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