Dear Customer Service - Let's not make this awkward...

Providing a positive customer experience from the moment a team intercepts an issue, to issue resolution is getting more difficult. With new forms of customer feedback (Social, Community, NPS, Surveys, Sales, Product Development, etc), how are companies analyzing and addressing this feedback?

Originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse, December 7, 2016

I don't make it a practice to complain via social media, but I work as a member of the Global Customer Success team so it makes sense for me to follow the subject matter closely. I follow customer care hashtags, watch social conversations, and pay attention to how companies follow up when disaster (or twitter) strikes.

Recently, I was staying at the Hyatt Regency next to one of our New York offices. I stay there often and never have issues. The staff is always gracious, the bartender is funny, the rooms are always nice and the guy who takes me to the office each morning always helps with my bags. Issue with my recent trip: I didn't get chocolate chip cookies. Let me explain.


Fellow marketeer, posted a check-in on twitter bragging about her Hyatt cookies. What the heck? I had also just checked-in and received nothing but a smile. I was half-joking when I replied on twitter and tagged my hotel - letting them know I didn't have alarm clock - or cookies (I really did not have a clock) The Hyatt social team immediately followed up:

I was stoked. This was my first twitter engagement that would include a cookie payout. I bragged about the encounter with my fellow teammates and couldn't wait to get back to the hotel. I opened the door, looked around. No cookies. Bummed, but I just shrugged it off, I didn't need the cookies anyway. (Who am I kidding?! I always need cookies.) I wanted to let the Hyatt social team know that if they did in-fact tell the hotel manager about my tweet, their efforts went for not. Again, I'm part of the customer care team for CA Technologies, so I want to hear when things go awry. They apologized via Twitter DM, and someone from the front desk immediately called my room. "Hello? Cookies?!"

Front desk manager said she was sorry she heard I was unpleased with my room. I assured her I was not, and it was just the missing alarm clock. She asked if I would like the alarm clock - "yes," I replied. No mention of cookies. She said someone would be right up and sorry for the inconvenience. She asked if I asked for something else... I said no. The conversation turned weird. I'm a 40-year-old woman - I am NOT going to beg for cookies (PLEASE GIVE ME THE COOKIES!). She asked if I would like a glass of wine. I said sure. By this time I was tired, I didn't want wine but I wanted her to be able to extend the courtesy and let it go.

Knock on the door - nice lady standing there with an alarm clock - no wine, no cookies. I'm just tired at this point and playing Twitter isn't fun anymore. I said thanks and put on my pajamas. About a half hour later someone calls my room. Lady on the line asks if I had ordered room service - "no," I replied. I was done for the day, my opportunity to post a glorious chocolate chip photo on twitter had diminished. She apologized and that was that.

Second knock on the door - gentlemen standing there with an entire bottle of wine and a wine glass. "Here's your wine," he said. I took it and went back to bed.

I learned how quickly a good intention can go wrong by the time it's executed. The Hyatt social media team intercepted my tweet and was going to offer an inexpensive nod to my loyalty. That would have been so great if the on-site team could have pulled it off. Instead, I went to bed late, irritated, with no cookies.

The experience has opened my eyes. I am going to look a little harder at how to help my own company offer customer goodwill and help see it through. What good is a promise if you don't see it through fruition? Enterprise software, hotel chains, or retail - it doesn't matter - we all have customers and want to keep them happy. What I never thought of before was that I had to "make sure it happens." When we make promises at a trade show or take viable feedback in the communities, I ALWAYS assure the information gets in the right hands, but I'm likely not doing everything I can to see that the customer feels heard, and their suggestion finds a good home.

To whomever I've left alone with no cookie payout, I am truly sorry. My 2017 Customer Experience resolution is to make sure I do my part in helping strengthen all links for customer feedback closure. Not all suggestions can or should be developed, but all suggestions can be heard.

I would love to hear from companies doing it right. Have you had a great experience in customer service? Has a company taken a bad experience and made it right? Does your company have a strong chain of command from customer intake to making new policies or products? Please share! The new 2017 Rachel is open for suggestions (and cookies - always open for cookies).