Make Sure Everybody Knows About It To Improve Customer Service Quality

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I recently stayed at a major hotel in Perth, Australia. On the telephone in my room was a small card indicating the phone and fax numbers of the hotel.

The phone number was listed as (09)225-1234 / (09)225-1234.

Clients around the world intended to call me during my stay, so I gave them the hotel number.

Not a single person was able to reach me by phone. One sent e-mail complaining I had given him a wrong number.

I called the hotel operator to check the telephone number and told her about the small card in my room.

“Oh,” she replied, “the local code is not (09) anymore, now it’s (08).”

“When did that change?” I asked.

“About four years ago,” she replied, “but everyone knows about it.”

A bit stunned by the clear need to improve customer service quality by updating the cards, I quickly contacted my clients overseas, and gave them the new number to reach me (08)225-1234 / (08)225-1234.

Again, not a single person was able to reach me by phone! I received another wave of “wrong number” complaints.

I called the hotel operator a second time, again reading her the phone number on the card in my room, but changing (09) to (08).

“Oh,” she replied again, “the code is (08), but now you also have to keep the 9 as part of the main phone number.”

“So the correct number is actually (08)9225-1234 / (08)9225-1234,” I confirmed. “When did that change?”

“About four years ago,” she replied, “but everyone knows about it.”

Absurd, isn’t it? Talk about a need to improve customer service quality! This hotel has 367 rooms, and very few people staying overnight in those rooms come from Perth. The need to improve customer service quality by making communications clear was evident, or so I thought.

I wonder how many guests have experienced the same problem over the past four years and clearly saw the need to improve customer service quality? I wonder how many staff from Housekeeping and Rooms Division see, clean, straighten and even replenish those inaccurate little note cards every day?

I spoke with the Business Manager, Michelle. She thanked me for my feedback and promised to do something about it right away to improve customer service quality.

I asked her to post a $100 credit to my room account, not to compensate for my frustration, but to ensure the hotel took this matter seriously and would get the issue resolved. She agreed immediately and promised to make the adjustment on my bill.

The next morning when I checked out of the hotel, no credit posted to my account. How predictably inefficient.

I wonder if it will be four more years before the small cards in the rooms are changed? I wonder how many more guests will suffer with wrong telephone numbers posted in their rooms? I wonder how many times the hotel operator will say “But everyone knows about it.”

Key Learning Point To Improve Customer Service Quality

Over time, many facts do change including phone numbers, features, stocking codes, availability, prices, procedures, packages, prerequisites and more. If you don’t keep them up to date, your customers will find the errors, and feel the pain. Improve customer service quality by taking action.

Action Steps To Improve Customer Service Quality

Check your data now. Be sure every piece of public information about your company, products and services is accurate and up to date.

When customers look, listen, read, research, surf, shop or ask questions, be sure the information they receive is current and complete, not old or obsolete. Doing so will help you improve customer service quality immediately.


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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

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