I contacted the Hilton in order to change a reservation for an upcoming hotel stay. As a longstanding Hilton Honor member, I’ve always enjoyed the hospitality and friendly atmosphere of the Hilton brand… That is, until I made the call.
My request was simple, downgrade my room from a King to two Double beds, so that I could bring my family along during a business trip. After a brief conversation, I was told that the room block was full and my request wasn’t possible; however, if I was willing to listen to a “pitch” for 2 minutes, I could gain some Hilton Honor points.
Really? Is this the question you should ask a longstanding customer whose request you were unwilling to support?
Not to be deterred, I called back a second time several hours later with the same request. Although it was initially suggested my request was not possible, after a brief hold my request was granted. Once again, I was asked to listen to the same “pitch” for 2 minutes on how I might obtain additional Hilton Honor points.
When is a pitch for a new product or service advantageous? Is Hilton so determined to introduce additional services to their customers that they require every employee answering the phone to forward callers to listen to the pitch REGARDLESS of whether they were happy with the service or not?
Has Hilton lost their mind?
In my book from McGraw Hill entitled “Operational Empowerment: Collaborate, Innovate and Engage to Beat the Competition” I discuss how a lack of empowerment for employees at the front lines leads to a diminished brand and quality of service.
Asking if I want to listen to a sales pitch after my request wasn’t granted is like a waiter asking for a big tip after spilling hot coffee on my pants, or a fitness instructor asking that I sign up for their next program after failing to show up for several pre-scheduled sessions.
A bad idea that diminishes trust and kills a brand.
[Tweet “How are your customer facing employees interacting with your customers?”]
Are they focused on providing a quality product or service, or simply making a pitch?
© Shawn Casemore 2015. All rights reserved.