14 February 2007

Privilege vs Entitlement

As I travel quite a bit in my work, I am no longer stranger to hotel stays. As my destinations are more or less the same each year, my choice of hotels tend to be the same as much as possible. It is not about being a creature of habit but more rather, I hate surprises during my travels. I prefer to be in control of every element of my itinerary from the prices to the quality level of the hotel.

All with the exception of hotels in Las Vegas where the prices change all the time and also the fact that I am curious to stay at a different hotel/casino each time... within budget of course.

For the rest of the hotels, it has always been the same hotels year in, year out. One advantage of that is that you slowly will get to know each staff as well as they know you personally. Service, as a result, gets more personable and friendly. It is not often you get a smile knowing that he/she really meant it.

Regal Airport Hong Kong would be my default hotel for the night before I fly at 8:30am the next morning. By default, you get a complimentary bottle of drinking water before you have to pay for the next bottle of Evian that is not FOC. I used to go to the airport 7-Eleven stall to buy extra bottles but these days, I no longer have to as a quiet word to the housekeeping department and an extra bottle will show up in the room while I am gone for dinner.

Marriott Memphis is also another regular hotel that I stay on the night I arrive (before I drive down to Tupelo the next day) and another night on the night before I fly out. Earl was my hotel shuttle driver which is a really cool guy and will not say no to me if I ask for a ride to the nearest mall and to call him again when I am done.
Best Western Greensboro is where I stay whenever I am in North Carolina. Not a fantastic hotel but that is the best I can afford given my budget of USD 150 per night. Whatever extras I need from housekeeping e.g. extra towels, laundry bag etc, a little note on my pillow in the morning before I leave for the day usually does the trick.

Now before anyone starts wondering how to get good service, the answer is simple.

Be a good patron.

Before you complain that you have been receiving bad service, first ask yourself if you have been a good customer? I am not saying that we are always the reason why we get bad service. Instead, what I am trying to say is that one should self-reflect before point that accusing finger.

Service providers are also regular people like you and I. Show your appreciation to your service provider. Just because they serve you doesn't mean that they are beneath you. Never treat them in a condescending manner.

Tipping is appreciated, especially in Europe and the US where part of the livelihood depends on them. Other places e.g. where service charge is already in the bill, a sincere "Thank you" does wonders.

Another very powerful tool that you as a customer can use is the power of the written letter. This will go straight into their personnel docket and will be used when they are due for a performance appraisal.

Too often, do we associate written letter with that of negativity i.e. Letter of Complain. The opposite may also be possible as I for one, has written a few complimentary letters to the Northwest Airlines HQ in the US, complimenting their agents in Hong Kong.

Good service is a privilege, not an entitlement.

- Voxeros

1. spinnee left...
Friday, 16 February 2007 9:12 am
Right to the point. Most people are not trained to be good customers, neither they respect the service providers. Afterall, since they obnoxious idiots dun respect themselves, why should service providers respect them too ..

2. JayWalk left...
Friday, 16 February 2007 2:19 pm ::
Spinnee: It is very much a chicken-and-egg situation where one may argue that they would be good customer if they get good service.

The way I see it, I would break the cycle by taking the initiative to be a good customer first. That way, when I am subjected to bad service, I would have every right to take the errant staff to task.

3. Harro! left...
Wednesday, 21 February 2007 6:01 pm ::
Look like a fun CNY for the kids. Happy CNY from the team at Harro! Cheers!

4. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 22 February 2007 1:02 am :: 
Harro!: Harrow and welcome to the blog!! Ok ok.. that was pretty corny. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Happy New Year to you too!

5. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 24 February 2007 9:14 pm ::
ZheBin: Well, she is your typical pink princess. Oh no! Bandung Vader also pink!!! NOOOOoooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

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