Simple and great customer service tips

I have been trying to do some event planning in Denver for a client.  They need a rather large venue and in a nicer hotel.  The event is a significant piece of business for a hotel to land (all day room rentals, catering, AV and sleeping rooms).  I have had such trouble getting complete information, proposals and questions answered from various hotel chains. Simple and great customer service tips are provided with these stories:

STORY #1

One director of sales and catering won't even return a phone call.  Instead she prefers to email.  So, we have multiple emails that go back and forth to get clarification on one question.  What a hassle!  Some things are better meant for picking up the phone.  TIP #1: If you are asked to call, call - don't email.  Ask your customers how they prefer to be communicated with (phone or email).

STORY #2

I submitted three web requests to a well known chain.  I submitted all the requested information.  One never contacted me back, one sent me an auto responder email stating someone would be in touch (but no one ever was) and the other sent me an auto response that said my RFP was denied.  WOW - Why was I denied - was it the dates desired?  If so, why wouldn't someone ask me if we had any flexibility with those dates?  Very impersonal and frustrating.  TIP #2:  Auto responders are unreliable, impersonal and ineffective.  Keep a personal touch with your correspondences.

STORY #3

After three phone conversations and multiple emails, this sales & catering manager finally gave me a proposal.  She admitted she lost track of me and lost all the notes, forcing me to provide all the event details again and again.  TIP #3:  Keep all your propsect inquiries in an organized manner.  Use a CRM tool if needed.

STORY #4

I received a very promising proposal from another well-know chain.  I expressed to them that they were a top runner (1 out of 3).  We were about to make the decision to go with them, when all of a sudden, my email messages were not being returned.  I sent three emails over the course of two weeks.  Finally, I picked up the phone and called.  Turns out the sales and catering staff at this hotel was no longer there.  The new director was being forwarded my emails supposedly, but never bothered to return my emails.  The proposal and records of my inquiry were gone.  Fortunately I had saved them and forwarded them on to the hotel sales and catering manager.  Well, now they have decided they will not honor the proposal I received from the old staff.  Apparently some policies have changed and they will not book an event this small until 30 days out (in case they get a better client who needs this space).  TIP #4: Have some integrity! 

For more information on customer service, visit The VOICE Customer Service Training.  As for the hotel industry, they could sure use some.

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