I know it just isn't possible to get it right all the time, especially for accommodation venues where so many human factors can influence outcomes. But here in Australia, we can certainly do better.
I travel extensively, and deliberately road test accommodation and event venues in the areas I plan to hold an event or experience. After each visit I receive the inevitable feedback form, which I dutifully complete, offering praise and constructive criticism where appropriate. I have even sought out managers whose staff have provided exceptional service, acknowledging that good staff requires good leadership.
It is disappointing to see how poorly feedback is received by those who ask for it. Whilst some have been fabulous and I recommend them often (Hyatt Canberra gets a special mention), more often than not I will receive, at best, an automated response. No personal comment, no feedback, no "I'm so sorry, we have taken your feedback on board and have taken xyz action" or "I'm so sorry, please find attached a drinks voucher / extended checkout voucher / breakfast voucher - please visit us again so we can show you how much we value our clients" (or something - anything - similar) Not even a personalised "thank you, we are so glad you enjoyed your stay."for the positive reviews.
We aren't talking about hard to fix complaints. I have an issue with paying premium prices for accommodation and then having to telephone reception because there isn't even a glass in the room - certainly no such thing as a bottle of water. As a guest, the last thing I want is to arrive at my hotel, often late at night and after a long flight, and then have to chase down reception for a glass of water. The demise of the mini bar in some hotels is also an issue, for the same reason. Half hearted cleaning and robot-like receptionists also gain a dishonorable mention.
I realise that it takes time and money to follow through on every single feedback response, but if you don't want feedback and don't intend to act on it, don't ask! If you have asked, and your customer has taken the time to respond, respect that their time has value too, and follow through.
With so many hotels to choose from, I have no doubt that other guests who have had similar experiences to mine will simply choose another hotel if they feel their response has been ignored. I know I do. They also pass their feedback to others who will listen - social media, friends, network acquaintances ... that five minute human based response you failed to give can result in a significant number of lost customers.
I would love to hear your experiences - do you have a "great service" story; or "bad service" story that could have been turned into a good service story if only they had taken some action? Email us firstname.lastname@example.org