“May I have my water?” I asked politely as I finished checking in.
“We don’t have any water,” the young man working the front counter responded.
“It doesn’t have to be chilled, just a couple of bottles of room temp water is fine,” I said.
“We don’t have ANY water,” he relays with a bit of snarkiness.
“OK.” I made my way to my room.
Traveling for business provides you with a few perks. The travel rewards program I fall under gives me two bottles of water upon check-in. Stellar, isn’t it? Crazy how much a little thing like $2.00 worth of water means after a day on the road.
The next morning the crew in charge of breakfast is hustling around the dining room creating a great start to the day with a stupendous breakfast and excellent service. I hit the room again, pack up the computer and all of the goodies required for the day and off I go.
10 1/2 hours later I am back at the front desk. I said, “Hey there,” to the same gent as yesterday. “Do you think I can grab my waters as I head up?”
He said… wait for it… “We don’t have any water,” with a bit more snarkiness than yesterday.
“That is so weird to me, I would have thought you would have gotten some in, it’s been more than 24 hours.”
“The truck hasn’t come in and WE DO NOT HAVE ANY WATER!”
I stood there for a couple of seconds and thought, “OK, just go to the room and shut up about the water, it’s obvious he wants to debate (nice word for argue) about the water. The same convenience store down the block will have water, just like they did yesterday.”
I went, they had the $.79 per bottle special, I splurged and got three.
As I sat in the nice, clean, king, non-smoking, typically appointed room I usually get, talking to my wife about it, I decided to use technology to let the folks at corporate know about Water-Gate in South Atlanta and that they may want to check in with the manager.
I used the app, and reported all of the facts with good details, not bashing or insulting. I simply said that the service wasn’t up to par at the front desk. Housekeeping, food service, etc. had all been awesome as usual, it was simply one person, regardless of the water inventory, that didn’t meet the founders vision. (I have researched the founder, he wouldn’t have approved of this deal at all.) I provided my name, my number and let them know I would be glad to discuss the situation, and to please call if I could provide better insight or details.
As a service-minded person and employee of service-minded companies, I feel it is important that the leadership know what is happening on the front lines. No intention to be a hater at all, it’s input that I would want if I were in their position.
The next morning was Saturday. Check out day and traveling back home day. I went down to grab some breakfast and again there was an awesome crew serving, seating, cooking, cleaning, etc.
In fact, no one that was there on Saturday morning was there on Friday morning. That told me they have a good culture and that it wasn’t just the weekday crew that got it. The mission and vision seemed to be prevalent throughout the hotel except for that one gent up front.
As I drove my phone rang. “Hello.”
“Hey Mr. Crumpton, this is Ms. M from XYZ Hotels, I am calling about your “complaint” and to tell you that I am giving you 10,000 points.” I said, “Why are you giving me 10,000 points?” She said, “Because you complained.” I said, “Ma’am, I wrote in order to let someone know that this situation should be addressed. I am not looking for anything free. I simply want, as I stated in my message to you that I was writing so that your future guests, including me, can have a better experience on their next stay.”
I continued “I was thinking after the first night, OK, not a big deal, heck, they ran out of water. But then to be out for two days seemed whacked to me, as there was a grocery store, a Home Depot and a convenience store, all within eye-sight of the hotels front door. If the young man is given the responsibility to run the hotel during the night shift, it seems logical to me that he would have the flexibility to get $20.00 from petty cash and go buy a few cases of water. In fact, the grocery store usually has 3 cases for $10.00.”
She said, “I don’t know about all that but, I am giving you 10,000 points and I will make sure the manager of that property knows about this situation.”
As I hung up the phone I felt really bad, really sad, and I felt like I wasted my breath and key-strokes. But by golly, I got my 10k reward points! Yeah, right.
Know this… it isn’t about the 10,000 points. Sure, there is a percentage of the population that wants 10,000 points “for free”. Me, I would rather see the management of that property use this as a teaching moment. Help the young man see that I wasn’t a pain, I am a frequent guest and that my future dollar spend is well worth some stupid water.
Please remind yourself and your crews that the little stuff matters. People want to be heard. Especially folks like me who genuinely want to help everyone deliver a level of customer service that is second to none.
Until next time… Stay thirsty, my friends.
PS: It’s been a few weeks, no word from the manager.