Ok the event I'm about to desribe happend a long time ago, the hotel I'm referring to is no longer under the same company and neither am I but I just had to vent because I never really got a chance to at the time of the event. I am currently studying Marketing at University, and am taking a course on customer satisfaction and loyalty. The course is very interesting and I'm learning a lot but after reading several articles, especially the one I'm reading now on delighting customers, I keep thinking back to time when I was not delighted, when I expected I would be. What I'm talking about is a business trip I was sent on in 2005 with several of my co-workers, I was working at a call centre (sure they called it a customer contact centre, but we all know a call centre is a call centre) for a luxury hotel (which I shall refrain from naming). This luxury brand is known for delighting customers, by anticipating their every need and having it ready before they ever thought to ask, this however was not my experience. At the time of the trip, my partner had just gotten a job after a considerable dry spell, in fact he started that job the same weekend I went on this trip and we were suffering financially so I hadn't been able to treat myself to anything special in quite sometime. I was very excited to go on a trip, even if I couldn't afford to buy myself much on said trip, most of our expenses were to be covered anyway so I wasn't that concerned. Did I mention it was July and we travelled by bus (a really run down one without air conditioning) for eight hours to get to our destination? Well that was fine as well, and the trip down was filled with excited anticipation, my co-workers and I had heard wonderful things about the last trip and we were hopeful for some of the same. When we arrived our rooms were not yet ready, this was fine too, we went shopping in a local market and a few other places, my time was mainly spent window shopping but I did manage to afford to purchase a scarf for myself. We arrived back at the hotel and were delighted when we found gift baskets in each of our rooms, this I would discover would be the only time I would be remembered throughout the rest of the trip. That night I went to a local bar with a couple of co-workers, at the time I barely drank but being with new people I did my best to keep up with them, this turned out to be a very bad move on my part. The next day I experienced my very first and to this day, my worst ever hangover, the girls I went out with knew I barely drank and felt terrible at my state, we did a tour of the hotel and I spent most of my time in the bathrooms until my manager who was travelling with us gave me permission to go back to my room. Perhaps it was because I was in my room, that I didn't get the next gift that all of my co-workers received, I'll never know but I found out as I managed to join all of them for dinner that night (finally being able to lift my head and at least look at food again) that all of them had received a fruit plate and a bottle of sparkling cidar. After finding out that I didn't receive this I was encouraged to call in room dining and get my treat, I did this and was informed that the fruit plate wasn't available at that hour and they were out of cidar but would I like some sparkling water instead? I don't care for sparkling water but damned if I wasn't going to get something, so I said sure, and then I waited and waited and waited for almost an hour and a half for someone to bring up a bottle of sparkling water, you can see I was less than delighted at this point. Perhaps the staff person who delivered the bottle didn't know it was supposed to be a gift or perhaps they didn't know how long I waited for said gift but when I didn't tip them after delivery of this bottle (did I mention I didn't have any cash on me?) they seemed a little out of joint. Maybe it was my neglecting to tip that caused the final oversight which I shall mention shortly, I'll never know. The last full day of our trip we were taken on an outing, I was still feeling a bit woozy but made my best effort to seem ok to everybody else. However our guide on this trip, a sales manager from the hotel, still seemed a bit short with me, she would happily answer questions from others but gave less care when it came to my questions, maybe I just felt that way as I was still not myself. Now comes the last part, after we had packed the morning we were leaving we all went to breakfast, upon returning to their rooms all of my co-workers had received a box of chocolates and a heart-filled fairwell card from the hotel, except me. I returned to nothing, my room had been cleaned like everyone else but there was no trace of a fairwell gift for me. We brought our belongings down to pack up the bus, and our guide was there to see us off, I first told my manager of the oversight who mentioned it to our guide, this guide stood in front of the gift shop that offered the very same chocolates that everybody else had received and all I got was "I'm so sorry you were overlooked" nothing else, no I'm sorry here I'll buy you a chocolate bar (really this is all it would have taken) or oh whoops, let me go get your card (really could have been done) just a half felt apology and nothing else, I may have shocked my co-workers when I burst into tears a few minutes later as they were all talking about how delighted they were, I just couldn't take the fact that I had been overlooked multiple times on this trip, the one that was supposed to be a getaway for me, a way to forget that I could barely afford to feed myself, my partner, and our cats at home, a way to forget that for the last couple of months I had to decide if I wanted to pay the phone bill or the electric bill that month or the fact that I walked 45 min to and from work, regardless the weather to save on transportation. Maybe they knew that, maybe they could tell I wasn't the type of clientele they were used to dealing with, but here's the thing, I'm working my way up, I'm in school now and I know very soon I'll be able to afford that kind of luxury and I haven't forgotten. I know I'm ranting now, but my point is, I don't ever intend to be the manager who says "oh don't worry about them, they'll never be able to come back here anyway" which is how I felt I was treated, I know that at any point people's situations change and those who are on the bottom now just might be on the top later on in life, always treat everyone you encounter with care!
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