I am interested in discussing my recent customer service compliment... that has just turned into a complaint.
I called the property for advice on how to transport from Fordham University in the Bronx to the Yonkers Residence Inn - as I wanted to do business with someone that the locaiton recommended and I could use my credit card with.
The desk clerk gave me Younkers Union Cars - 914-968-5111 ... the cab showed up late and was not really a fabulous ride but adequate. The I was informed upon arrival at the hotel that I would need to pay cash. Relatively embarashing as I did not have the cash... I asked the driver to wait and then discussed how the hotel might help solve the situation - Joey the desk clerk agreed with his peer Ed that the hotel would pay the cab fee and add this to my invoice. For this I was appreciative and excited that the property helped its customer. Joey handled my request in a extremely professional way. I asked for his GM's name and email as I wanted to send a nice note about this terrific customer service solution. Certainly it was a great answer to my crisis (that would not have been an issue if the service they commonly used took credit cards as they had thought).
So how does an excited customer like myself become disappointed and now have concerns... I thought that the embarashing circumstance was behind me. I returned to the property tonight and upon saying hello to Joey again and thanking him - I was asked (by Joey) to reimburse the petty cash or till for the hotel for his boss Brandon Blackman had instructed Joey to get the money from the guest and that they were not going to invoice me on my acount.
This action made me feel that being a past Marriott employee 25 years and an avid Platinum Rewards member really wasn't special anymore. I asked where there was a cash machine - and was told I could walk to the Shell gas station. To which my response was - "please call you boss and let him know that I do not intend to go get the cash and in fact if the manager did not speak to me directly I would even refuse to pay for my stay this week.
After thinking about my heated response and mention that I'd go over this unpleasent experience with Bill Marriott next time we met on the lake.... I had to put this to bed .... so I could go to bed litterally. I walked to the Shell station (as no cash machine was available in the hotel) and got twenty dollars to pay the hotels petty cash back. I returned with the $25 and handed it to the evenings desk clerk that had to have Joey come over to give me a reciept after she put the money back into the till. I saw the Yonkers Union CArs recipet and a note attached to it instructing Joey to get with this customer to get the money back as they were not willing or able to post this to my credit acccount.
Upon asking for the original reciept (so I could be reimbursed for my cash payment)... i was told that he needed to keep the reciept for his boss. The I asked him to make a copy of the recipet and he reached over to a stack of business card Union Cars recipets... interesting he had a large stack as they must reccomend them often to their guest, but Joey was unwilling to part with the original reciept.
I asked for a business card for Brandon Blackman, from the other clerk (who went in the back and found me one - where as earlier I was told that only the cards in the placeholder on top of the counter for the sales person was available.) thus I have a card for Brandon now only to find that he is not really the GM but the Assistant - The GM is on Howard Gerhardt - who like Brandon - was just unavailable for comment.
I want you to know this for I had planned to bring 20 people to this property for a 5 day stay end of October and will now move over to the Hampton Inn... so a policy for not handling a customer request for credit extension of $25 has now cost this property 20 guest nights at $250 for a 5 day stay - or over 25K... so maybe when doing your TQM trainings again empower the "associate" as we called them to solve the customer delemia and stand by your decision that the customer is always right and must be taken care of - for those "associates" that take care of the problem - take care of the customer. Now I am so worked up I know that I will not sleep aa it is almost midnight and I am trouble to think that this experience and this email is just not going to take me anywhere.
So Moral of the story - don't have high expectations - for if they are ever exceeded, they may be deflated vs elated and just make the day plan misserable.
We now to call the Hilton folks - maybe stay at the Hampton Inn my right side of my brain has said. Thank you in advance if anyone cares to read all of this and respond.