Hot Water Please – Part 3

This is the final installment of the hot water story. Will we finally get satisfactory customer service?

So you were probably curious to hear what came about this whole hot water fiasco.  Eight days had passed and I was skeptical about whether or not I would receive a response from corporate office.  Today, I finally received a call.

The Conversation

“Hello Jay speaking.”

“Hello Jay, this is Sam, the Hotel General Manager.  I received your email in regards to your experience of the hot water charge.  I am very sorry this happened and I do apologize for not responding earlier.  When I received your email on my blackberry, I was on my vacation, but I made note to immediately call you as soon as I returned.”

“Thank you for calling.”

“First, I wanted to express my deepest apologizes from myself and behalf of the staff including Raymond.  I have been here for 8 years as the GM and my job is to ensure our guests leave happy.  Raymond has been the Restaurant GM for 6 years and actually reports to me.  Raymond is a very good manager that has often gone beyond customer expectations, therefore I apologize how he handled the situation.  So just an hour ago, I had a meeting with Raymond and I showed him your email.  He felt terrible and wanted to apologize if he came across wrong.  I have also called for a retraining of the staff and I have shared your story with them.  There is absolutely no excuse for this to have happened.  We serve on average 290,000 covers a year and we definitely would not like an incident like this to ruin our reputation.”

“Thank you Sam for your concern and I am sure you understand that I was surprised at the charge.  I do not have a problem of paying as long as I was aware of the policy. I do understand why you would charge for hot water.  If there are guests that only order hot water then absolutely there should be a charge.”

“Yes, yes. Well Jay, we began to charge guests only about 2 years ago.  However, these were people who did not order any food.  So in your case, there shouldn’t have been a charge at all.  I am not sure why your waiter charged you.

I would like to invite you back to the restaurant and offer you a complimentary appetizer or I can offer you a $10 credit towards your meal.  I do hope you will return and give us another chance.”

“I appreciate your offer, but I am not sure if I will be back.”

“Well, most certainly it doesn’t have to be in the immediate future.  It can be at anytime you wish.  In fact, let me leave you my personal cell phone number so that you can give me call before you go and I will make sure that you have been properly credited.

“Thank you. If I do decide to return to your restaurant, I will definitely give you a call.  I appreciate your understanding.”

“Thank you Jay for taking the time to listen and to speak to me.  I hope to hear from you soon and Raymond is also expecting you to return as well.”

The Verdict

Unfortunately, the hot water incident was handled poorly by the staff.  As a restaurant’s GM, Raymond had an opportunity to fix the problem, but failed.  According to the Hotel’s GM, Raymond has been known to go far and beyond expectations.  He clearly did not shine this time.  In this case, a manager should do everything in their power to repair the damage that has been done and to sincerely welcome a customer’s patronage.

Sam’s offer may have not been enough.  Perhaps a restaurant certificate could have been more appropriate.  For many, $10 may sound cheap for such a large restaurant.  However, at the end, it was really how the situation was handled.  Unlike the rest of the staff, Sam was upfront and genuinely sincere.  He listened and spoke with care.

What are your thoughts on how the Hotel’s GM handled the situation?

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