Thursday, 24 January 2008

How To Ruin A Perfect Customer Experience: The W Hotels

Last week we stayed at the W hotel in Chicago for business. The hotel was beautiful. The rooms were immaculate (i love their aubergine colours). The bathrooms were fantastic (I am all about the shower pressure).

I even noticed that they changed the floor mats in the elevators to reflect the time of day (good morning and good evening). The staff was helpful, the food in the restaurant was quite good - all and all a pretty close to perfect customer experience.


Turns out, my credit card didn't register with their system and the individual who checked me out didn't notice. So since I wasn't there, they just chose to use the credit card of the person who reserved the hotel. I'll call that person, poor Nansi. So poor Nansi is the receptionist at the Blast office in NY. She's one of the most helpful people on the planet and instead of having a good day today, Nansi has been fighting with the W hotel over this issue. Even though it is THEIR error they are not only requesting my credit card (which we gave them) but as well, a faxed copy of photo ID.

This is just unacceptable. Let me count the reasons why:

1. One can routinely purchase items online without any photo ID
2. They know the error was theirs
3. They know Leigh Himel (whose credit card they have now been given over the phone) was the person who stayed in the room
4. Blast is clearly a real company, with real offices, who clearly poor Nansi works for bc she was the one who booked the travel in the first place

Not only that, but they have now turned a perfect customer experience into a horrible one. I was just filling out my profile for travel and was asked what my hotel preference is. While I am a starwood hotel travel member, I am now rethinking the whole thing.

What a shame. It's why end to end is so important and why living the brand means more than following a silly un-customer focused policy book.

Update: The W Hotel rocks my world again....Read about it here


Fraser said...

Refer to previous note to self.

Seriously though, that's brutal.

Leigh said...

Ha, but it is mostly positive. I sent an email to the head guy at W - he did send me a short note back. I'm giving them a chance to make it up to Nansi. We'll see if they can live up to their promise....

What did he have on the bottom of his email....


I wait patiently.

Anonymous said...

Let me add that when a Clif Bar was consumed the morning of departure in my room, I advised the W staffer at check-out. She charged me for something called a Munchies Box that was almost $11. When I asked her if that was really the charge for a Clif Bar, she replied "I know, can you believe it?".

The issue is that it was not the correct charge. She selected the wrong item. Housekeeping subsequently realized that there was a Clif Bar missing and charged me almost $6 - a separate charge that appears on my credit card statement after the original bill.

Thanks W for billing me twice (once for a product we never consumed), for not realizing your mistake, and for not even knowing what your mini-bar products are listed as in your POS system.

Martha said...

You write very well.

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