A Manager's Missed Moment Of Truth


During my stay at GTA hotel, it was the General Manager, who in fact, demonstrated an unforgivable lack of customer service skills.

This is the sequence of events during a family event where various family members booked overnight accommodation. Several family members experienced loud music outside their rooms well into the late hours of the night. Despite trying several times to communicate with staff, they had challenges getting the music turned down, and off. On top of that I also experienced a terrible breakfast in the lobby the next morning. When we all registered our complaints the next morning to the front desk clerk the hotel General Manager walked by us a few times. Without stopping.  The front desk staff indicated the Manager was busy, but when he walked by for the third time, we approached him about the concerns.

He indicated he was too busy to speak to us, since he was in a meeting with an important customer. It turns out it was a building contractor. Not only did he not take a moment to resolve the situation, but he walked away!

My family member later contacted him in writing. Again, he made a list of excuses about the brand, his busyness and the fact that if we don’t like what the new brand represents, we can go elsewhere.

This situation should never have escalated as it did. This senior manager did not lead by example and did not recognize the opportunity to turn a poor customer service situation into a positive one by valuing the customer in front of him and following up properly. Regardless of the brand standards, customer feedback is imperative if a “new” brand is to survive. If businesses don’t take feedback to heart, they will soon learn what the market will bear. I too sent a personal message to the General Manager about my negative experience and I also completed a follow-up questionnaire. I never even got a response to my email by the General Manager, nor a response to my comments in the follow up survey.  I am still dumbfounded to this day and as a senior executive in the hospitality industry, the fact he didn’t follow up to me, makes me wonder how others fare.

This service situation was made worse by a manager who obviously lacked the basics of customer service, service recovery, or coaching skills to ensure they lead a customer centric business. Not only do they not mentor and coach their teams, but they don’t walk the talk and dropped the ball when it counted. It is unfortunate that when they do their business plans and budgets they just might be missing their customers.

In order to foster a culture of service excellence, managers need to understand how to lead by example. OTEC’s Building a Culture of Service Excellence Management Program can provide you with the skills and tools to create a positive service vision and culture for business success. In order to maximize customer loyalty one must develop an organizational culture based on consistent service standards and strong leadership.

-Victoria Behune

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