I recently had the great pleasure to stay one night at the Park Hyatt Palace Hotel in Paris. It’s not very often that one stays in a hotel in your home town… and this was no ordinary night. The entire stay, from beginning to end, was marked by tremendous service by the Park Hyatt personnel, down to the hello in the corridors by the cleaning staff to the enthusiastic ushering around on the ground floor. The dinner at Pur’ the Michelin 1* restaurant was lovely (although the desserts might have been slightly better). I even found the wifi absolutely perfect, wherever I was in the hotel.
Can you hear the but?
Here it comes….
Customer service is digital too
And, yet, I did find one weakness… and it was not a minor one considering I spent over one hour of my 24-hour stay in the gym in the basement floor. The gym is tucked away in the spa area and has a sparse but adequate set of equipment. Central to the equipment is a set of running, elliptical (right) and stationary bicycle machines by TechnoGym.
To be sure, I had no complaints with the mechanical functioning of the elliptical. But, the irritation happened when I tried to watch the TV. One out of three channels didn’t work. I was left watching CNN, which isn’t exactly my prefered choice for a workout.
But, the rub was when I want to plug in my iphone. To my incredulity, they still have the fixtures from before 2012 (that’s four years ago, almost an eternity in the digital world). One has to imagine that the bulk of the clientele at the Park Hyatt will have up-to-date electronics!
Taking care of the digital details
On my second visit to the gym on day 2, I zeroed in on the fact that the machines all promoted an internet connection, such that I suspected I might be able to do my Facebook and Twitter social statuses at the same time as I perspired. I was curious to find out what the idea was.
So, I checked them out. And, perhaps not too surprising this is what I got:
The “try later” message was the one that got me. What? Oh, like on my next visit to the hotel? None of the fancy splash messages led to a functioning page. All bugged.
If luxury is all about the details, it is also in the digital details. First, the TV doesn’t work properly (20th century problem). Secondly, the device fixtures are 2012 old. Thirdly, the internet connection doesn’t work (2016 problem).
The solution to excellent in [digital] customer service?
The reason such breakdowns happen is almost systematically the same.
- The boss doesn’t walk in the customer’s shoes
- Therefore, the employees are not encouraged to walk (in this case run or step) in the customer’s shoes
- The organisation still has a siloed approach…. where “digital” is segmented out to the “tech team.”
If the personnel in the gym had checked out the machines themselves (as a user), they would have seen all this. But, the gym personnel are there for the welcome and managing the spa services (paying). All that is digital or equipment is relegated to the IT/tech support area. There is no way for customers easily to provide feedback… unless you make a remark at the checkout! To be sure, the staff at the desk gave me their full attention. Hopefully, they will contact TechnoGym and get it sorted out. Better yet, they should find this blog post and let me know it’s fixed.
Am I dreaming? Probably!
Your thoughts and reactions?