SurveyYoda

Got Married, the Last of Us Did

Ahh, siblings.  Love them, tolerate them, avoid them, you can’t always help but be related to them.  Lucky for me, my brothers and I have grown closer over the years, and this year was a great year for The Brothers Mahoney.  You see, my youngest brother got married, and Brother Number Three is expecting a baby (due near March 17.  Coincidence?  Methinks not!).

Just married couple holding hands on the beach, Hawaii Beach Wedding

Excited for the wedding, and even more excited (to be honest) at the prospect of a night away from our two boys (whom we love dearly, but everyone needs a break from family every once in a while, right?), we headed up to the room I had booked at the resort hosting the event.  After a great round of golf with my bothers and dad (the round was great, my playing was less so.), I grabbed my bags and headed up to the room.  It was well-appointed, but warm.  The drapes were closed, and the AC setting appeared to be set correctly.  But after meeting the groomsmen for lunch and returning to room nearly two hours later, the room was still a bit uncomfortable, and I let the front desk know.  A promise of service was made, and I proceeded to get my things squared away.

After taking a quick shower prior to dressing for the rehearsal dinner, I noticed on stepping out of the bathroom that the room felt warmer still.  So much so, in fact, that after dressing I had to take a slow stroll in the hallway where the AC was working to stop sweating through my suit!  Stopping by the front desk on our way out, the staff indicated to my wife and I they were aware of the issue, and that the service department was going to take care of it as soon as possible.  And yet, four hours later, returning from the rehearsal dinner, the room was even hotter than we left!  Calling the front desk, the staff offered to move us to a new room on the same floor.  So imagine how we felt at the end of the rather long day when my wife and I had:

  • Asked for, and were promised, assistance.
  • Asked for, and were promised assistance a second time.
  • Forced to pack up all our things and move to a new room that (wait for it)…
  • Smelled musty, stale, and of three-day-old cigarette smoke!

We gave up, fell into bed, and awoke the next day mostly rested, and still more than a little furious.  Given what we had paid per night, we were tremendously disappointed.  To be fair, the staff were courteous and polite, the golf course was beautiful, the wedding and reception (both held on-site at the resort) were wonderful.  Ahh, but the room.  And the kicker: the survey.

Look, here’s the thing: don’t ask someone for their feedback if you’re not going to do something about it.  If you ask for the feedback, you are committing yourself to one of two decisions: we will act on this data, through to logical and complete conclusion, or we will not, and become a pariah in the minds of our current-and-soon-to-be-former-customers.

Guess what the resort chose?

The survey arrived two days later, via email.  Most know, I’m more than happy to take just about anyone’s survey.  And this one was a solid example of a well-structured survey: personalized invitation, contextual respondent experience (to a point), and responsive design (I take most surveys on a mobile device these days, and I won’t complete a survey if it can’t render elegantly in that environment).  And I absolutely hammered the resort on the room quality, likelihood to recommend, and likelihood to return.  I provided exquisite details on the experience as a whole, and how so very much our perceptions had been tainted by one, single aspect of our stay.  And the manager responded!

With a form email.
To which I replied.
To which reply I have heard absolutely nothing, for going on four months.

Should I wait by my inbox, you think?

I’m all for offering up and present and opportunity for feedback capture at and about each point of interaction, but: be ready to take action.  Don’t ask the question if you’re not prepared to act on the answer.  To do so yields angry and upset former customers, who will, in turn, write about you.  Tweet about you. Talk about you. Facebook about you.  Yelp about you. TripAdvisor review you.  Or, in my case, all of the above.  What do you think the long-term impact of this might be?  Watermark Consulting says you’ll be labeled with Forrester’s “Customer Experience Laggard” label, and see significant negative financial performance.  In the Age of the Customer, can you really afford this?  And the fix is easy:

  1. Ask for feedback
  2. Tie the feedback to the interaction, and everything else you know about the customer
  3. Identify the complete solution to the issue, and implement it (at a minimum, begin the implementation)
  4. Engage with the customer, apologize, and document the plan to mitigate the issue going forward
  5. Re-engage with the customer once the solution is in place
  6. Wash, rinse, repeat

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