The Risk of Not Personalizing Your Communications
A few weeks ago, I spent a night at a Vegas casino. Following my stay, I was sent a link to the post stay survey and I completed it, as I always do. This survey was incredibly long and repetitive and I wondered, as I always do, when the industry is going to wake up and realize that most guests don’t have the time or patience for these structured surveys.
In any event, my stay was positive. My check-in was quick and painless and as I was just there for one night, I didn’t take advantage of the spa, the restaurants, or have the need to to speak with any staff members. I did provide feedback that I thought the internet charge was expensive, but that was the only free-form comment I made. All my other feedback was given in the ratings where I rated everything as exceeding my expectations.
But, a day later I received a four paragraph letter apologizing for ‘problems’. Here is a snippet:
“Please accept my apologies for the inconveniences you experienced on your recent visit. There is never an excuse for guest inconvenience and poor service and frankly, I am embarrassed. I assure you that this is not indicative of the service philosophy we champion at <Casino Name> and certainly not representative of the style we have become known for.
It is extremely disconcerting to us when we learn one of our valued customers has had an unpleasant experience. We work diligently each day to build a service culture, responsive to the individual needs of our guests. It is obvious that on this occasion, we have failed to accomplish our goal. I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for the disappointment you had with our overall service, most especially for not being able to provide you with a warm welcome.”
The letter goes on to apologize and at the end, I nearly forgot that my experience was positive! Clearly, this hotel needs to do a better job with its post stay communications and not send form apology letters to guests who have had positive experiences. And, if I really did have a problem, the letter should have been personalized based on my feedback. No one wants to receive a form letter. In this case, I think no response or a quick ‘thank you for completing the survey’ is better than a canned response.
No surprise, but this hotel is also not responding to reviews on TripAdvisor and other review sites. What will it take for hotels to finally understand that great guest experiences need to also occur pre and post stay?