A Fat Dead Naked Bloke in The Bathroom and Customer Care
I can imagine you are asking what fat dead naked blokes in a bathroom have to do with customer care. Believe me, they are connected, at least for the purpose of this story, let me explain.
Near Death Experience in Copenhagen
I was recently on a trip to Copenhagen on a consulting job and I stayed in a very well known hotel. The hotel is renowned but dated and the rooms are being modernised. I stayed in one of the old rooms that have yet to get the treatment.
I was only staying two nights, it was a quick in and out job and I was leaving early for the airport the following morning. At about ten in the evening, I decide to have a shower so I could just get up the following morning and leave.
Anyway, turned on the shower (which is over a bath), waited for the water to warm up, and stepped into the bath. First foot down, getting confident here, second foot down, as I am dropping it towards the bath, I realise, hang on, there's no bath maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Quite amazing backflip out of the bath, faster than I have moved in many years, scored 10 out of 10 by the Russian judges, of course being Irish the British judges just give me a 6, and I landed on the sink. We aren't talking a dinky little bathroom sink here, oh no, it's a behemoth of a sink. A full room marble slab of a thing, this is the indestructible unit, carved from the side of a mountain in one solid piece by Thor himself, large enough to land small aeroplanes, I may be exaggerating slightly, but you get the picture.
Thank God For The Famous Thick Cooling Skull
I was lucky, really lucky. I hit the edge of the killer sink with my upper back across my shoulders before banging the back of my head of it and eventually ended up a sad, confused, naked and slightly concussed mess on the bathroom floor. I don't often do naked, but my usual place to be sad, confused and slightly concussed is the kitchen floor after I have irritated her who must be obeyed.
Anyway, not to be deterred by bodily injury and near death experiences, I crawled back into the bath and showered while sitting down. Interesting experience, you should try it once just for the hilarity of the yoga positions that need to be pulled to wash everything. Anyway, washed, clean, still slightly concussed, I became a little angry. Why was there no bath mat in the damned bath? Perplexed, I set off on a mission to find out and remonstrate quite vociferously at the lack of forethought.
The Fifteen Year Old Night Manager
I swear, he was fifteen, although that might be a function of grumpy middle age, concussion and shock. He may have been slightly older, but I would bet a small child that he hadn't been shaving long. Anyway, said Night Manager gets the full force of the by now, angry, shocked confused and slightly concussed fat man. Thank god, not naked, but I will come to that.
Any way, he explains to me that bath mats can be requested, I explain to him that I never remember staying in a hotel with a shower over bath that did not have a bath mat. I explain to him clearly the ridicilous gymnastics that have occurred while also explaining that if my upper back hadn't taken the impact first, I would be dead. My head is hard, but you know, rock beats scissors and all that.
I realise while I am remonstrating with him that I am slightly hysterical, not screaming, wild eyed, gibbering hysterical, but slightly twitchy hysterical. In my defence, I haven't had any one or any inanimate object try to actively kill me in at least thirteen years, so I am a bit fresh to it. It's like riding a bike, you never forget, but when you do it again after a long time you need a little run up, you know what I mean?
Said Night Manager views the injuries to my back, makes shocked sounds about them and the rather large angry bump that is now making itself known on my head and apologises. Here where we finally get to talk about customer service. He apologises and says he is sorry, there is little he can do for me because I am checking out in the morning.
He is at a loss, he can't comp me a dinner, he can't give the next night free, in fact, because I am leaving first thing in the morning, there is very little he can do to try and make it right, or at least take the sting out of it. It struck me then that nobody in the hotel had a doomsday plan.
Make A Doomsday Plan
What would you do if your customer experience had gone so wrong? What is your go to apology strategy, what's your apology strategy when the crisis is a large one, one where you could be looking at legal action because of something that you did, or didn't do? This company didn't have one, or at least it hadn't been communicated to the Night Manager.
Your service is going to go wrong, or at least it will go wrong in the
eyes of a customer. You need to consider how you are going to deal with it. You need clear planning about how you are going to structure apologies and what those apologies will entail. While you are at it, you need to plan for the doomsday. You need to know what you are going to do when the cleaner finds the dead naked fat bloke on the bathroom floor.
Or should that be naked fat dead bloke, I mean what's the hierarchy of description here? These and other things keep me awake at night.