Monday, October 20, 2008

Consumer Insight # 6 : Do You Have a Plan B

Last weekend I took my family to a pilgrimage to the famous temple of Guruvayur . I booked the rooms at a decent hotel and was glad that we got rooms during the rush season. We landed at the hotel and greeted by the service staff and all went well in the beginning.

But in the evening the lift ( elevator) of the hotel stopped functioning. We reached the hotel after the tiring visit to the temple only to find that the elevator will not be functional for atleast one hour ( that's what the service staff told us). Our room were at the 4 th floor . I sat there looking perplexed since my old parents and my 4 year old child were to climb all the four floors.

There were also another family at the lobby looking equally worried since they had booked rooms for relatives who were to arrive at the hotel to attend their daughter's wedding . They looked hapless having to ask their guests to climb the stairs to the 4 th and 5 th floors.

The hotel staffs were looking equally helpless and the only action they performed was to ask their guests to climb the stairs.

At the end, we had to climb the stairs and hit the bed with all the exhaustion . We hoped that next day things will be taken care of. But in the morning , I found that still the elevator is not functioning. To much of the dismay, the room service told us that breakfast will be served only at the restaurant in the ground-floor.

This really blew my temper and I had to release all my anger on the reception staff. Then to my surprise, they offered us the Service Lift !!!! Infact the hotel had another lift that is used by the housecleaning department ( commonly known as service lift ) which was working.

They could have offered this to the customers immediately when the main lift stopped working. It could have made all the guests happy but the hotel failed to use it.

The issue here is two fold . The hotel did not have a plan B. They had one elevator and there are always a chance that these kind of problems can arise at any point of time. So in the service delivery process, the management had to forsee these kind of exigencies. If there was a plan B, then the service lift could have been made available on the spot.

Secondly the front office staff was not given enough empowerment to act during such kind of issues. The service script should be prepared in such a manner that the staff could make such kind of decisions to help the customers.

As of now, the hotels in Guruvayur can afford to make such kind of poor customer service since the demand far exceeds the supply . But tide always turns.