I just had a great weekend away in the west – filled with ponies (at the sales) and swims and meeting friends to share food and a few drinks.
One incident marred it though. I left my bag behind when we moved tables at one point in a hotel bar. The staff had it behind the counter when we went to ask about it, thankfully! The wallet was still in it and all my bank cards – but the €140 cash had gone! Thank god this type of thing hasn’t happened often to me and not for years, since my travelling days.
Anyway, I went into the hotel the next day to tell the management about it. I was expecting concern and a promise to try to find out what happened – I knew the chance of getting the money back was nil.
What I actually got was defensiveness. “It couldn’t have been our staff.” “We know the other customer who handed it in and we don’t think he would have taken it.” Answering questions I hadn’t even asked!
It is easy to understand that the hotel management did not want to believe this happened (this is a very good and popular family hotel that my friends and I have frequented for many years – we love it!).
This was turning a bad criminal experience into a criminal customer service one.
When any hotel should be aiming for customers to feel welcome, well cared for and important to their business, what this attitude got me feeling was unbelieved, way less important than any of the staff or other customers and foolish for having even mentioned it.
What should they have done?
I think that they should have helped me to report it to the Gardaí and taken my details to update me on it and let me on my way, safe in the knowledge that the hotel was on the case on my behalf.
As it was, I ended up going into the local Garda Station and reported the theft myself. At least they listened and took down the details I gave them. And we had a chat about the pony sales and how the real robbery was happening in the mart with the price of foals gone sky high!
When a customer tells us about something negative – even when we didn’t cause it – helping them out and showing we care is always the right thing to do. We are likely to end up with a customer that’s even more loyal and a champion of our business if we do.
As it is, I will always have a bit of a sour taste when I think about this hotel next time I’m in the area. I may go back in sometime in the future – but it could be a while and I will definitely leave the bag at home.