Friday, 25 July 2008

Perfect Operators

Last month was a company social event, sailing to Cowes. Some people were happy to sleep onboard the boats the night before, others with not so good sea legs preferred a hotel bed so I had to go and book 6 rooms

The hotel chain website only allowed a maximum of 4 from the dropdown for number of rooms
After a search through the Help pages I found I could do a Group Booking...

...for 10 or more rooms

So it had to be the manual option of a phone call
Slight Aggravation # 1

( well, OK, I could have booked 4 rooms then 2 rooms using the website but I wanted to be sure there were 6 available )

6 rooms booked, a booking reference number for each and the numbers and invoice would be emailed to me

Two days later, still no email

Phoned up, they checked one of the reference numbers, quoted my email address back to me
And it was wrong
Slight Aggravation # 2

And no, they couldn't change it and resend the email
Larger Aggravation # 1

I used the 'Contact Us' page to report my problem, sadly the response had this sentence
"We also tried searching using your email address (assuming you booked with this) but again, no results were found."
Of course there were no results as they had MY WRONG EMAIL ADDRESS and this was the problem I was reporting.

Larger Aggravation # 2 - read the problem the customer is reporting and dont just sent a canned response

Fortunately, unlike the original operator, I had copied down all 6 reference numbers correctly and was able to put those into the website to generate an invoice

and that wasnt the end of the story, a few weeks later our email server caught some Special Offer emails from the hotel chain - to my wrong address of course

So make sure your testing includes the possibility that the operator gets things wrong - and that there is a process to correct these errors and not annoy the customer

and maybe I should have Twittered about my problems to see if the hotel chain was listening

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