Customer Service Quandaries: Part Two

Tina Haapala |

Last week I began a tale of woe about a recent trip. To recap: Although the restaurant was not crowded, did not have upcoming reservations, and was willing to hold my table for 8 people as long as it would take for the last 2 to arrive, Pappadeaux would not allow the 6 of us to sit and order appetizers and drinks until the last 2 were in the building.  It was frustrating.

When all 8 of us were finally seated, everything went well. Dinner was excellent. Our waiter was superb. Everyone had a good time.

When I returned to my hotel room later that night, I discovered the room hadn’t been cleaned. This was the Omni Park West. A really nice hotel--that kind of stuff isn’t supposed to happen there.

Now, I had only checked in the afternoon prior, so it wasn’t all that dirty, and I had plenty of towels. The bed wasn’t made, but I was going to sleep soon anyway. However, after the restaurant incident, I was hyper-aware of potential bad service. Then it dawned on me. For about 30 minutes that day, I had my Privacy placard on the door while I took a shower.

When I asked how that was usually handled, the night desk clerk said it was likely housekeeping would skip the room. So should I call housekeeping any time I remove my privacy card, just in case? No, that would not be necessary, I was assured. I was tired, but I walked away trying to comprehend this.  So, housekeeping would skip my room, but nothing was in place to ensure daily service in this situation. Huh?

The next day I wrote two emails. First, Pappadeaux. Unable to find an email address for the specific location, I opted to complain to the main office. A day later I had a “form e-mail” from Pappadeaux. It assured me that they informed the manager of the problem, that they regret I was disappointed, and that they welcome comments in the future and my continued patronage. Nothing in the note was evidence of an actual human response. The email specifically stated in bold type that I was not to reply to it.

Omni’s website made it possible for me to email the head of guest services to my location. The next business day I received an email from Chris, the guest services guy. He responded specifically to my problems and noted he was researching the situation. Within an hour he had a report from the head of housekeeping stating they should have left a note so I would have known they had skipped my room but that service was available. Both housekeeping and front desk staff would be reminded of this policy. Chris apologized and offered me and any of my guests free breakfast upon my next visit.

Two problems at two excellent establishments. Two very different responses. I now hesitate booking a table at Pappadeaux, but Omni is at the top of my Metroplex travel list. No matter how great the food or how comfortable the bed, it’s how each establishment dealt with problems that ends up casting the final vote.

This article was published under the title "Personal touch can make the difference" in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on July 13, 2014.