How to provide great customer service (when things go wrong)

Macdonal Bath HotelTime I feel for a story of how customer service should be done? Occasionally I write up a story of good customer service. Not often but I do like to give credit where credit is due, such as the Dunelm story.  I always say that every company makes mistakes sometimes but it is how they deal with them that matters. That’s when the company is really given a chance to show how good their customer service is. My friend (remember The Clamer Cat?) and I attended a spa day last October at a Macdonald Hotel in Bath. I had booked the day with the leisure manager. I added another massage for my friend and I with no problems. On the day of the spa we were told that we could not have the treatment because it would be too much massage.

Peeved we were, peeved. But the manager was incredible. So professional (particularly given that it was her line manager who had booked the treatment and so one has to assume was 100% at fault for not taking advice from the spa team) and helpful. Before we went into one treatment we said that we would write to the manager of the hotel to complain about the issue but that we would also mention that the spa team were extremely good and helpful.

When we came out of the treatment we were offered a full spa day including treatments as we had booked plus a tea. (Can’t beat tea and cake!) Most importantly, the team could not have been more apologetic. Genuine apologies go a long way.

I was impressed. This was after all far above and beyond the legal duty of the hotel for not providing services with skill and care. So I wrote to the general manager of the hotel. never let it be said that I only complain and don’t give credit where credit is due! I wrote the following:

“I am writing to you because whilst it was quite clear that this was basic knowledge that the manager should have known, the therapists that spoke to us were extremely professional. They could not have done more to help and try and rearrange things. When the spa manager Wendy was informed she could not have been better. She was very apologetic whilst remaining very professional. My friend and I were really very impressed by her and her team, she clearly runs a very tight excellent ship.

I write the blog www.thecomplainingcow.co.uk and am author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! and you will see that I rarely compliment service and specialise in complaining effectively. So this praise comes very high indeed. I always say that companies make mistakes (although it has to be said that I’m not sure that the leisure manager knowing so little about the basics of the spa and not requesting staff to check the booking a rather sad state of affairs) it is how they deal with them that counts and Wendy and her team were superb. Most importantly we hadn’t started to really complain, (as I always do this in writing) just said how appalling it was that the leisure manager should make such a mistake and their attitude/manner did not change when it was made clear that I would be complaining.

When we came out of the last treatment Wendy gave us the free spa day and tea. Pre-empting the complaint that she knew we were  going to make meant that I am not writing to you about breach of contract (not providing services with reasonable skill and care) but to compliment your team at the spa.

Your hotel is not active on Twitter but I tweeted the chain about Wendy and I’m surprised they didn’t rt it! I will be writing a blog post soon about the service to show what should be done when a mistake is made. I rarely do posts like that so it will be a nice change! I will let you know when the post is published.

I trust that you will pass on our comments to the team.”

So there you go, a time when even I did not need to complain! 🙂

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2 Responses to How to provide great customer service (when things go wrong)

  1. Tim says:

    Macdonad? Hotel!

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