From bad sausages to good hospitality

Last month, at Internet Librarian, I stayed at the Monterey Marriott. Like most other hotels, they provided me with a customer satisfaction survey. I always fill those out because, as a Marriott Rewards Platinum member, I have a feeling they track that stuff in some kind of uber-database, which means it will somehow benefit me somewhere along the aggregate.

Overall, my stay was fantastic. It was close to the conference (couldn’t really be much closer), I was upgraded to an executive suite, had a great view, and felt that my needs, as modest as they are, were well taken care of. With the exception of the sausages. The sausages they brought to my room for breakfast were in rough shape. I can easily overlook that, however, and I did. Except that I marked down the food in the survey.

And I would have completely forgotten about those bad bangers, if it were not for an email I received last week:

After taking the time to review your response, I was concerned by the rating which you gave to breakfast overall that you had at Three Flags Cafe. Please accept my sincere apology for our failure to provide you with the overall quality to which you were expecting while dining with us.

I would certainly appreciate hearing from you personally, Mr. Blyberg, so that we can gain more insight into your dissatisfaction with the overall quality of service that you received. We had always taken great pride in providing the highest quality of service to our guests and we regret this was not your experience.

We value your feedback and appreciate your loyalty and I certainly hope that I will have the opportunity to speak with you soon. You may contact me personally at [snip] or by e-mail at [snip]. It is our pleasure to serve you and the next time you visit in Monterey please feel free to contact me prior to your visit as we want your next visit to be a 10!

Not bad. They turned something that was really not a big deal into an opportunity to show they care about me as their guest. Granted, I’ll just skip the room service in the future and head across the street to Pinos, but of course I’ll continue to stay there.

This underscored, for me, the fact that our ILS, in addition to everything else it does, needs to function as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.  This anecdote is exactly the type of story I’d want told about MPOW.  Where are the most complaints lodged?  At the circulation and reference desks, of course.  And what tools, other than social grace and Job’s patience, do librarians have when taking them?  Email?  email who, what, and why?  Or better yet, the old, “let me write your name down on this piece of reference scrap and never get back to you” trick?

No, we need practical ways of tracking complains–who is making them, what they’re complaining about, how often, time of day, and so on.  Then, most importantly, we need to follow-up with the patron and let them know that we still love them.

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