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    Lodging A Compliment

    | Truro, England, UK | Awesome Customers, Hotels & Lodging

    (I work on the reception of a large hotel chain. We do a deal where you can get cheap nights at a hotel under three circumstances: 1) you book and pay in advance, 2) you don’t alter the booking in ANY way, and 3) you book online. As there’s minimal person-to-person interaction, there are plenty of people who tick the ‘terms and conditions’ without reading them. The biggest catch is that if you cancel, as you’ve paid in advance, the hotel still charges you the stay.)

    Me: “Hello, this is [hotel and chain] and I’m [name]. How can I help you today?”

    Customer: “Hello, I’ve made a booking for the 21st until the 23rd but I’ve changed my mind, and I’d like to come the following weekend instead. Could you change this for me?”

    Me: “One moment, sir. I’ll just bring up your booking…”

    (I take his details and quickly notice he’s on this deal, and therefore I cannot make any changes.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, it’s not possible for me to change it. You’ve booked through our [offer system] and therefore we can’t make any alterations to the booking.”

    Customer: “What do you mean? I just want you to change the dates. What’s so difficult?”

    Me: “I understand, sir, but you’ve made this booking under the deal, and part of the contract of that is that there cannot be any changes to the booking.”

    Customer: “What?! What contract? I signed no contract!”

    Me: “The details of the offer are in the Terms and Conditions when you made the booking. We do advise you read those.”

    Customer: “Fine! I don’t want to come to your hotel now at all. Just cancel the booking.”

    Me: “Of course, sir, but you must know that we’ll still charge you for the stay. That’s also in the terms and conditions. If you cancel for whatever reason, [chain] will still charge the money.”

    (The customer explodes down the phone at me, and I have to hold the phone away from my ear because of the noise level. He begins threatening to go to the media, ruining the chain’s reputation and generally being abrasive. At this point, two women walk into the reception and I ask them politely to wait as I’m currently dealing with the customer on the phone. They both lean on the counter and can clearly hear the man on the other end shouting at me. Finally, he calms somewhat.)

    Me: “I completely understand your predicament, sir. I have been wondering if my system would allow me to change the dates of the stay in such an event but haven’t been able to do so for obvious reasons. The only thing I can offer you is that I, out of curiosity, change the dates on your booking. I warn you, I have no idea if this will be successful, as I’ve not attempted it before. If I change it you may still be charged. This is the best I can offer you. Do you understand?”

    Customer: “Yes, I understand. You’re going to try to change it, but your system might not allow it?”

    Me: “Yes, sir.”

    Customer: “And if the system doesn’t allow it, I may be charged.”

    Me: “Yes, sir.”

    Customer: “Let’s do it, then!”

    (I change the dates and luckily, it allows it. He is still on the offer, but on different days. I explain this to him.)

    Me: “So, you’re booked in for [dates] which will cost you [price] and I do suggest that, next time, you don’t use this offer. It’s quite tempting, but if you aren’t absolutely certain on the dates of your stay, it’ll cost you extra.”

    Customer: “Thank you so much! I’ve written down your name, I’ll enjoy meeting you. You’ve been such a help and I’ll bring you a bottle of bourbon for you when I get there.”

    (I end the call, and make a note of his attitude on his booking, as warning for other receptionists that might encounter him. I look up sheepishly at the two women still waiting to be checked in.)

    Me: “How can I help you today?”

    Woman #1: “Get your manager down here right now.”

    (I call down the manager, knowing what they’ve heard me do is against company policy, and that I could be in a lot of trouble for doing it.)

    Manager: “What can I do for you, ladies?”

    Woman #2: “This girl has just shown the best customer service we’ve ever seen.”

    Woman #1: “Yes, we stay in these hotels all the time, and I’ve never seen anyone handle a bad customer like that.”

    Woman #2: “It was amazing! You should’ve seen it! She deserves a medal for keeping her cool. Definite customer satisfaction, and she hasn’t even checked us in yet!”

    Manager: “Thank you, ladies, I’ll make a note of it. If that’s all, I’ll leave her to check you in?”

    (I got a commendation from head office for my conduct, although they weren’t entirely clear on the details of why I should get it. It’s not monetary reward, but having ‘outstanding customer service award’ from one of the leading hotel chains in the UK does look rather good on my CV… and all for breaking company policy!)

    (P.S. The man didn’t bring me the bourbon after all!)