NPS Blog

Closing the loop in the real world

Every now and then you hear about a company that gets it right. They listen to customer feedback. They act on it. Sort of gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling—except that you wish it wasn’t so unusual.

The other day, a colleague of mine came back from a trip to the Washington, D.C., area. I asked him how it went. “The trip was fine,” he replied, “but the hotel stay was terrible. I was up half the night listening to the A/C unit cycling on and off. Every time it came on, it sounded like a jet plane.”

I asked whether he had let the hotel know. “I filled out the survey,” he said. “But I don’t expect to hear anything back.”

And then, a couple of days later, guess what? He received the following email from the general manager of the hotel where he stayed:

Mr. __________,

Please accept my apologies for the noise you experienced while you were a guest with us. I sincerely regret the frustration this has caused you and I assure you that your experience is not the standard to which we aspire, nor which our guests have a right to expect. We are in the process of switching out some of our A/C units due to excessive noise and will make sure our maintenance team is aware of the condition of the one in your room. I want to thank you for taking the time to share your comments and I look forward to our next opportunity to serve you.

This hotel wasn’t the Ritz or the Four Seasons—it was the value-priced brand of one of the nation’s biggest chains. But there’s no reason to be surprised. Processing the complaint and sending out the email probably took only a few minutes from start to finish. If there are 10 complaints a day, that’s less than an hour of someone’s time. Granted, the investment in new A/C units is more costly, but the hotel had already decided to take that step. What’s new here is that they apologized for the problem and let the customer know the action they were taking.

In the original survey, my colleague said, he gave the hotel a 4 on the “how likely would you be to recommend?” question. Now he says he’d give it an 8. Not quite a promoter—but he’s a lot closer than he was. All for the price of a single thoughtful email.


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