Don't Ignore Customer Comments

May 4, 2013

Lisa Apolinski

Lisa Apolinski is a professional speaker, blogger, and digital strategist. With her company, 3DogWrite.com, she works with event managers to get their message to attendees, particularly through digital channels, on and off the show floor.

As many of you know, I write about travel and hotel experiences.  Hotels have to work on the user experience as much as we trade show managers do, since that experience can affect your trip, regardless of business or travel.  I also write about online reputation management and how important that is.  Let’s discuss what happens when those items intersect.

I was traveling to Santa Fe, New Mexico, a trip I have done several times, and I booked my normal hotel, La Posada de Santa Fe, in my usual way – via phone to get a special rate I cannot get booking online.  I was very surprised when I arrived at the hotel only to find out my reservation was not found.  I was able to get in for one of my two days that I had booked, with some effort and involving a manager.  I found out later that evening that the central reservation group for this hotel had booked me at another location, not in Santa Fe (which is understandable). 

When I let the hotel representative know the mix up was their fault, her response was, ‘Gee, that’s too bad.’  Yep, that was the ‘customer service’ I received from a hotel where I have stayed at least a half a dozen times before, and sometimes for a full week at a stretch.

I decided to send an e-mail to La Posada to let them know about my experience.  I received the standard ‘someone will answer your request soon’ auto response about two weeks ago, and that has been it.  Again, wow with the level of customer service for a resort and spa known for the service you receive at the resort.

Shame on you, La Posada de Santa Fe, for ignoring feedback on your error, not once, but twice!  However, I want to use their repetitive error to educate my readers.  First point: If you get someone who lets you know something that you have done wrong, take that opportunity to make it right, or at the very least, acknowledge the customer’s attempt to give you the chance to correct the user experience. 

Second point:  If you have a form to get feedback or comments, don’t think an auto-response buys you a few weeks of time.  Great to send it, but then make sure you follow up in a timely manner.  Again, if you are being given the chance to change someone’s experience, be sure to take it!

Third point: In the age of instant reputation and the ability for your customers to share good (and not so good) news, don’t take a situation like this lightly.  Comments and criticism can become quickly viral, and it is a foolish choice to ignore a comment that can become a blog article, such as this one. Take the time to address things so any comments made will be good ones. It takes a lot more time and energy to address negative comments than to work on positive ones.

Take it from me, and the horrible customer service from La Posada:  don’t ignore your customers’ comments.

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