Unfiltered Story #209737

, , | Unfiltered | September 28, 2020

I work in a call centre for a large hotel brand and take calls for, among other things, the complaints department.

Me: Thank you for calling Corporate Customer Service. My name is Rebecca, how may I help you today?

Caller: I have a complaint file that I’m not happy with the resolution of. Can you help me out?

Me: I’d be happy to look into that for you and see what I can do to help. Do you have the reference number handy?

(She does not, but I am able to bring up her husband’s membership account via his email address and find the notation on the account with the file number, which is standard procedure. I pull up the file, ask to put her on hold while I review the file, and read it over. )

Me: Mrs. [guest], thank you for your patience. I have looked over the file and as my colleague said in the email, we reviewed the call. You said that the agent did not cancel the second reservation, and that is simply because she was never instructed to. Your husband called the hotel in Nashville that you had the first reservation with, their reservations department overflows to us when they get overly busy. My colleague pulled up the reservation, recapped the reservation back including the dates, and at his request cancelled it. She then asked if there were any other reservations he needed help with, he said no, and the call ended. There was no mention made of any further reservations that needed cancelling, so the other reservation was not cancelled. The agent made no error, so we will not be refunding you the cost of the no show fee you incurred with the other hotel.

Caller: But she should have cancelled it!

Me: But how was she to know that you wanted it cancelled?

Caller: Because we weren’t going to Nashville!

Me: No one told the agent that.

Caller: That should have been obvious when we cancelled the first reservation! Why else would we cancel it?

Me: I can think of a half-dozen reasons off the top of my head why someone would have two different reservations in a particular city and only cancel one of them. Your husband made no mention of cancelling another reservation and no allusions to not being able to go to Nashville, so why would the agent go looking for a second reservation?

Caller: She must have known that we had two reservations.

Me: If she had a reason to go looking she could have seen that you did, yes. However, she had no reason to go looking for a second reservation.

Caller: So you’re saying this is my fault, and you’re not going to refund my $300? This is really shitty customer service!

Me:(Chokes back the impulse to just say yes) Ultimately it is up to the guest to manage their own reservations. We give you tools on our website where you can log in and see all your upcoming reservations with all of our hotels and sending you emails whenever we make, change or cancel your reservations, but we can only do what you instruct us to do. That instruction still has to come from you.

Caller: and we instructed her to cancel our reservation! I don’t understand why this was so hard for you to understand! My husband forgot that we had two reservations.

Me: Even if he did, as part of the recap, the agent mentioned the dates that the reservation was for. Your husband didn’t notice that the dates she gave didn’t encompass your entire stay?

Caller: He was driving when he called, I’m sure he didn’t get every detail.

Me: Ok, I can see how that might be the case. But on reviewing the cancellation email you received, didn’t it seem odd that only half of your stay was cancelled?

Caller: Who reads those emails?

Me: I see. I understand that you don’t want to pay the no-show fee, but you had the tools to make that cancellation happen, and you didn’t. You didn’t log into the website, you didn’t listen when the agent explained what she was doing, and you didn’t check the emails we sent out. So I’m afraid that I’m also going to side with my agent. We will not be reversing the no-show fee.

Caller: $300 may not be a lot of money to you, but it is to us. Can’t you find your way to reversing that for us this one time?

Me: (trying not to laugh at that statement – the amount of money she was going to be spending on this trip just in her hotel room is more than I make in a month, the no show fee was one night’s room and tax) No, ma’am I can’t. The ruling has already been made, and I agree with it.

Caller: I can’t believe this. I am never staying with you again. I’ll take all my business to Hilton or Hyatt.

Me: That is your right. However, I should warn you that they will also expect you to manage your own travel plans. If you cannot manage your own travel arrangements, there will be consequences with other brands as well. Might I suggest the next time you need to travel you hire a travel agent?

Caller: Ridiculous. I’d like to speak to your supervisor.

Me: Certainly. They will tell you the exact same thing, but I will happily get one on the line for you, one moment.

(I put her on hold, dialled up a supervisor explained the situation, and she laughed, told me I did exactly right, and I transferred the woman through. I checked on it later, she never got what she wanted.)