I’ve been noticing a trend lately in the travel industry (at least with the airlines and hotel chains I frequent), and I can’t quite figure out what purpose it serves. For example, the last few times I have called United web support, they have ended the call with the following line:
“You may be transferred to a survey, where the sixth question will ask how you would rate your overall experience with me today. Just for my own information, I would like to know how you would rate me from one to five.” Now, that puts me in a bit of an awkward situation. I’m talking to an outsourced call center that’s trying to tell me a United flight between Washington Dulles and Chicago is actually operated by Continental, and if I wanted to fly United I’d have to go through Houston. So obviously their knowledge sucks, but it’s not their fault. I don’t want to make them feel bad, so I say “five,” since they’re doing the best they can. But what purpose does this serve?
Another example. I checked out of a Hyatt this morning. At check-out I was asked “have you experienced excellent customer service during your stay?” First of all, it sounded incredibly unnatural asking that question. Second of all, I really didn’t. The service was good. Nothing was wrong, but I didn’t receive excellent service. Maybe I just have high standards, but there’s a difference between good service and excellent service.
But in the bigger picture, what’s the point of this? Why not just provide good service to begin with, and by all means ask about the stay, but do so in a natural and logical way, like “did you enjoy your stay with us?”
And speaking of my Hyatt stay, there was a Southern Baptist convention at the hotel the same time I was there. NEVER stay at a hotel when 99% of the guests are attending one of these unless you enjoy singing in the elevators (and by that I mean someone riding the elevator for an hour just to share her “Gift from God” with the rest of the riders).