Listen up, hoteliers: Your Twitter helplines need serious repair, Part II

Twitter fail

A couple of weeks ago I was all out of whack because of a bedraggled chair.

Well, it wasn’t really the chair; it was the ignorant customer service born from my mention of this chair to a Twitter assist handle for a major hotel company. It was the third company I had contacted in the past few months for various service guffaws, each time with the expectation that tweeting a supposed help line would actually give me help. And each time I was met with weepy disappointment.

Alas, I discovered these lines seem to be designed to simply tell you how bad they feel, and they are so sorry. But apparently they weren’t designed to actually solve any problems.

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Quick recap: The chair in my room at an Atlanta hotel looked more like Manuel Noriega’s face than a quality piece of furniture. Though it didn’t really affect my personal experience, I contacted the assist line as a friendly gesture explaining they might want to swap it out for the next guy staying in the room. It was insanely embarrassing I felt for hotel management and I posted that a chair was so damaged and hadn’t been replaced.

Read that full article here: http://ow.ly/102mPT

What was wrong with housekeeping that no one changed it out? Or maybe one of them said something and management ignored it. Whatever the case, when I tweeted about it, I was met with many apologies and no action.

The good news was many of my online followers piled on with clever comments about the sad state of the chair and how management should be ashamed. I got a lot of mileage out of that post and the situation was too good to ignore, so I wrote a column about it. Then, since I am incapable of just letting things go, I felt compelled in a moment of weakness to send them the article with a little bit of snark:

“You were all so ineffective at helping me, I got a great article out of it. I didn't call you out by name because I don't need to prove points by hurting others. But I hope you all read this and realize how important assisting people is when you have an assist line.  I should thank you because I have gotten amazing feedback,” I wrote, attaching a link. 

Then they responded, with this: “@travelingglenn thank you for pointing us to your article.  You were correct and indeed we should have handled your tweet differently by simply calling the hotel immediately.  We did not put the attention and care into your matter that you deserved.  Every day is a learning day and we will use your example as an opportunity to do better.”

I thought it was an OK response, but wasn’t all that excited, because it sounded like more of the same. Then two days later a FedEx package arrives from the company with a book called “Where Chefs Eat.”

There was a lovely note too saying they appreciated the learning lesson I provided them and that “as a foodie, you might find this interesting.” Interesting indeed! There were other nice words in there too underscoring an apology and the lessons they learned.

wherechefseat

Now, that impressed me. They took the time to learn about me as a person and went out of their way to make me feel special. And that made the emotional connection with me that every brand must strive for. Now I feel I can put this traumatic experience behind me, plus, now I have some cool restaurants to check out.

My question to all of you today is this: How would handle a situation like this from either the customer or the brand side? Do you feel there is enough responsiveness from Twitter help lines? Let me know by contacting me on Twitter and Instagram @TravelingGlenn or via email [email protected]

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