How to lose a customer forever, in less than two minutes!

Customer service can nurture customers and make them loyal for life, or make them fly away and lose them forever. This depends on the way customers are treated. With today’s plethora of offering, power of choice and social media, customer service has become totally critical. Let me tell you about a personal story that happened a couple of days. Although I had prior reservations due to relatively poor service, location was just great and this was a favoring factor for choosing this hotel again. This is where they lost me!

I booked it online, through our internal travel booking system. I realized no more than two minutes later that the chosen dates were wrong. Hey, sh*t happens, I just mixed up things in my mind! I therefore cancelled this booking exactly at the time I realized my mistake. However, because it was an online booking, my credit card was charged of the full amount of the booking. In case you wonder, what the booking dates were, they were almost a month ahead. It was not like I cancelled for the same day, no, the hotel has plenty of time to rebook the room . It was therefore not a net loss for them, however, this booking had a NO CANCEL, NO REFUND policy. I just did not pay attention to the fine prints.

NO REFUND POLICY SUCKS!

A NO REFUND policy is a clear customer rip off to get people to book at a higher price to pay for a partial/total refund policy. Of course, you can say I should have read the fine prints before clicking the Book button. Would it have changed something, probably not, as at that time, I had not realized my dates mistakes, and I was 100% committed to be at that place at that time. On top of this, my credit card has a cancellation insurance attached to it, so the risk was almost nil!

Despite the fact I’m stupid and should have read the fine print, I find having such kind of policies sucks. It feels a way to make money on mistakes. Of course, I’m not completely stupid and know there are some frauds on the markets. People will abuse some lose policies, however applying a no refund policy a month before the actual booking is a clear message to me: this particular company is either not successful and need to make extra money, or is just not customer oriented. In both cases, it triggers a red flag!

GOOD BYE!

This experience reminded me two things: 1. Read the fine print, morons will continue to exist and will continue catching stupid people like me, just because they want to catch flies with honey. 2. Run away from vendors who apply those kinds of policies if possible, since this attitude will tell you how their customer service work, and you are at risk of being deceived later if not sooner. Customer service needs to think how to “service customers”, not to maximize profits at the benefit of customers. This sounds obvious, however, very often forgotten . I’ve always seen this in many industries. Very stringent policies are never pro-customer, they are pro-vendors, and to me it’s a total deterrent. So, here’s a hotel that I will not book in anymore. It just lost me, forever!

If you have to set policies for your commercial activities, ask yourself who they protect? Yourself or your customers? Putting yourself in the shoes of your customer will generally give you the right answer. A company lives thanks to its customers, not because of them. So easy to forget!

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