Losing customers for a croissant.

As you know, in this blog… I like to share all sorts of examples that happen to me, have happened or things I feel would be interesting to you guys.

One thing that really gets to me is bad customer service –

Why? – because the customer is the one paying you, and if they have a bad experience, what are the chances of them coming back? – that’s right – zero to none.

On Sunday night, I checked into the Mercure Hotel in Brighton.

The Mercure Hotel in Brighton at night

Upon check-in, i’m informed, car park charges – £18 (which I wasn’t informed at the time of booking) and breakfast is included (which at the time of booking I wasn’t informed).

I ask the receptionist twice – are you sure about the car park charges (because, being honest, I could’ve got another hotel, elsewhere which had a free car park) and are you sure about the breakfast?

Twice she said, Yes – car park £18, and breakfast included.

It was about 8.30pm and too late for me to find another hotel so I agreed to the car park charges.

Went to my room – and stayed the night. In the morning, I scheduled my day, to get up, have breakfast, check out, (already looked on Google Maps the time it would take me to get to the location I needed to be at for my meeting), and planned it out.

So, Monday morning, I’m up head towards breakfast, and sit down. About to tuck into my bacon and i’m told that my room is with ‘breakfast not included’.

The lady on reception is the one who was there last night. I informed the breakfast staff, the reception informed me that breakfast was included. I asked twice and she said Yes, it’s included. The lady then denied knowledge of what she said.

Unfortunately, the manager of the hotel does not start till 3pm. So, the one in charge until the manager comes over. I inform him what happened, the lady again, denies knowledge (though other people heard her and my colleague was there heard her). The caretaker manager then says, sorry, as it’s not included, you can’t have it.

There was no apology.

There was no compassion.

There was… nothing.

Now i’m in a situation, where I have to find breakfast, potentially be late for my meeting and on top, still pay £18 for the car park.

I explained this all to the person in charge, but there was… nothing. A shrug of the shoulder and I receive…  “nothing I can do mate” response.

Firstly, not your ‘mate’ and secondly, not only will I not be coming back, but also, my colleague won’t be.

On top – I tweet the incident, only to find, friends have had similar ‘bad’ experiences with Mercure Hotels.

What would I like to have seen?

Sorry Mr Bansal, there’s been a mistake, it’s taken a while as you’ve been stood there for 5-10minutes, you’re probably getting late, let me get you a croissant as gesture of goodwill and hope you will stay with us again where we have the opportunity to serve you and make things right.

Cost of a croissant – £1

Cost of a night in the hotel – £80

Cost of losing 2 customers (who are coming back to the area) – £160.

Cost of losing more customers who read the tweet and other social media, influencing the decision – (for example, 10) – £800 +

This is why, Customer Service is so important. You are losing a guaranteed £160 for the sake of £2… and potentially over £800 in revenue due to 2 croissants.