Do you ever read the reviews on TripAdvisor or similar sites?
Everyone’s now a budding ‘Alex Polizzi’, passing judgement on everything from a hotel’s décor to the service they’ve received and the quality of the food.
Personally, I think it’s brilliant.
It means that hotels and restaurants are almost instantly accountable (particularly in the age of the smartphone-equipped client) to the whole world, and I feel that it’s made them ‘up their game’ with regards to customer service.
A recent example, if I may.
My family and I headed off to North Norfolk for a brief break in late August.
We stayed overnight in a nice hotel, having first, of course, read the reviews on TripAdvisor.
The welcome from reception was good, the room was fab and everything was going swimmingly – until we had dinner.
Now, a bit like my Labrador, I can eat most things. However, the main course I was served was pretty much inedible.
In hindsight, I perhaps shouldn’t have gone with a dish described as Vietnamese Shakin’ Beef – not sure why it was called this, perhaps the chef named it as a tribute to Shakin’ Stevens? – but I thought I’d try something different.
Of course, when the waitress asked if everything was OK, I did that typically British thing of saying ‘yes thank you’ when I really should have said ‘actually, no’, but credit to her, when she collected my nearly untouched meal and asked if I couldn’t manage it, I then told her that the meat was tough and I couldn’t eat it.
She told the chef, who agreed with me and sent his apologies. She offered me a free dessert, which I politely declined, and then she told me my main course would be deducted from the bill.
I thought that this was very fair, and felt better about the whole episode – and wished I’d complained in the first place!
However, I did also wonder to myself would this great piece of customer service have happened in the days before internet accountability?
Or would I have been left feeling disgruntled and merely been able to mutter just to family and friends about the experience, having first bought a bag of crisps from the bar to stave off the hunger pangs?!