No Porridge – Who will be sleeping in that bed?
You know we have been talking about customer care. Here’s one for you. I was swapping hotel tales with a good friend of mine the other day. Now this guy travels a lot on business. You know the type, slip on shoes, he’ll sell the Rolex off his wrist if he sees a small profit and travels everywhere business class. This chap possesses more airline gold lounge cards than is decent. Never the less he’s an absolute gentleman, the type you would want on your side on a tough piste.
Over the last fourteen years on his trips to London he has been staying at the same hotel – one of those that was “taken over” by that Scottish group. The hotel CRM system is working well as he gets one of two rooms every time he stays at a knockout rate and enough loyalty points over the year to get him a pretty good bunk and a bite to eat at the Monaco Grand Prix. On nodding terms with the GM, the barman knows just how he likes his coffee and I believe often joins him for chat. But I digress.
One of the best things about this chain of hotels has always been the breakfast. A cornucopia of fruits, breads, eggs every which way, assorted pork products, puddings, other heart stopping fried delights and of course, having that Scottish connection, haggis and most importantly porridge.
So you can imagine my friend’s shock last week when there was no haggis and no porridge. Indeed the buffet was a little sad. You know what I mean, flabby tbacon, pale sausages, scrambled eggs not up to scratch – we’ve been there too.
Worse to come!
On closer examination my friend found there was no haggis (I think you’ll agree we could all live with that) but then horror upon horrors, no porridge on offer! He accosted one of the breakfast servers; I refuse to use the term waiter or waitress, and asked why this great national dish was not on offer. Only to be told in a less than courteous tome “No one made porridge this morning” – Sounds to me like they just couldn’t be arsed!
And that Al was that. No apology. No “going the extra mile” here. The Buffalo definitely hadn’t fled in this direction. I mean how easy it would have been to reply “Very sorry sir the porridge isn’t ready yet, can I ask chef to make you a portion right now.” I mean how quick is your twelve year old daughter at preparing a bowl of the “wonder cereal” in your microwave oven? I bet it would have taken less than three minutes.
Ok, my friend has a very attractive rate for his room and breakfast but surely we know by now that this is one meal plan that the bean counters can’t steal from to improve profitability. Or, is this just symptomatic of the service and customer care malaise caused by bad management of poorly paid workers. Forced to the front in the trench warfare of food service on minimum rate do they really give a damn about porridge?
So we all know the story that my friend will be telling his business class colleagues in the Gold Lounge this week. Wonder if he’ll be sleeping in his usual bedroom next time he is passing through the Capital?