Thursday, November 15, 2012

Customer Surveys

I work in marketing and know how important it is to receive feedback.  Both good and bad.  Too many times, companies only hear the bad.  I like to send company management letters of accolades when one of their employees, stores, chains, etc. does something good.  Novel idea, right?

Last week I traveled to Austin and San Antonio for work.  I stayed in hotels in both cities.  Both hotels (different chains) sent me a follow up survey.  I completed both of them.  One hotel was above and beyond exceptional in their customer service and accommodations.  The other hotel, while their staff was great, the facilities were not.  I was brutally honest with both (hence, the name of my blog).

I received emails ... from both hotel chains.  From real people (because I emailed both back).  The one that was not up to par sent me an email to apologize for the hotel conditions and assured me that my survey results would be shared with the staff.  Also, they wanted to make sure future guests did not have the same experience I did.  While they invited me to come back to stay with them again my reply was, "Appreciate the offer but I don't think so."  And, being in marketing, I also let them know I could not endorse them to my vast wealth of social media followers.  (That, kids, is how you puff yourself up to more than what you really are!)

I could have just done the survey for the hotel chain that was not up to par.  But I didn't.  I wanted to give kudos to the hotel that really made an impression on me.

The other hotel, DoubleTree Suites in Austin, was fantastic!  The staff was amazing (a maintenance man inquired about the enjoyment of my stay and asked if the hotel could do anything for me while there), the room was lovely (great view of the state capitol building), and I might have shed a tear when I was checking out.  They understood what "hospitality" meant.  Plus, getting a warm cookie at check-in didn't hurt either.  The one item on my survey that I said would have been nice to receive was a welcome note waiting in my room when I arrived.  (It happened once at another hotel and I thought that was pretty awesome.)  The email I received from the hotel supervisor thanked me for my stay and apologized for not considering having a hand written note waiting for me but valued the constructive input I gave him.

(As I'm typing this I received a follow up email back from the supervisor thanking me for taking the time to email him personally.  It made his day to receive such a nice email.)

Both hotel stays were different.  Both received different survey results.  Both had real people email me back to say that my survey was received and specific pieces of my survey were pointed out in those emails.  Amazing!  Imagine if every industry ran their customer relations the same way the hospitality industry does.

If you get the chance to tell a company how well they are doing you should!  Imagine if companies (and individuals) heard more positives than negatives each day.  I bet things would be a lot more hospitable.
What my cookie looked like before I ate it!

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