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a blog by Chris Barrow

Morons in Customer Service

I should start a series of these encounters. Arrive Holiday Inn Express, Dartford at 09:00 for a 10:00 start. Walk to front desk: CB: “I’m here for the IDH meeting today” Young male receptionist (YMR): “I don’t have a booking in that name.” CB: “so why do you have a notice board at the front door that says IDH in the Ebbsfleet Suite?” YMR: “Oh – are you the organiser?” CB: “No – I’m the speaker.” YMR: “when will the organiser be here?” CB: “in 5 minutes, she is sat outside on the phone in her car.” YMR: “so how can I help you?” CB: “I would like access to the room to set up my gear.” YMR: “sorry sir, I cannot let you have access to the room.” CB: “because?” YMR: “because I’m not authorised to let you have access to the room until I have had payment from the organiser.” CB: “what do you think I am going to do – steal the room?” YMR: “no – but I’m not authorised to allow you access.” CB: “well bring me someone who is please.” Look of disdain and incredulity, shrug of shoulders, disappears behind door, re-emerges with young woman, grey suit, greasy hair, no make up, shabby, body language resigned to a shit career with a second rate hotel chain until she can find someone to get her pregnant and release her from this purgatory, looking forward to raising two ASBO kids and grinding her way through a lifetime of frustration and low self-esteem in DARTFORD with occasional trips to fish and chip Spanish resorts, interspersed with births, weddings, funerals and infrequent visits to the O2 and TK Maxx. Lets call her Lardy Cow (LC). LC: “I’ll swipe you a key but we don’t normally authorise people to enter rooms until the organiser has paid.” I get swipe key, walk to room, key doesn’t work. Walk back to front desk. CB: ”the key doesn’t work.” LC: “that’s because the room isn’t booked until 10:00 so normally we don’t allow guests into the room until the agreed time without and additional charge.” CB: “is there anybody else running a meeting in the room at the moment?” LC: “no” I stand there and just wait. I can see her trying to think – to make sense of this non-authorised event that wasn’t covered in her 60-minute induction training. LC: “in this case I will allow you to enter the room without any extra charge.” CB: “thank you.” Well done Holiday Inn Express – another chance to shine.

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