Reading the many flattering comments in this blog you might think that we never screw up and never get complaints.
Of course we do screw up and we do get complaints—some of which in our opinion are justified and some of which are not.
The judgment calls that we make in handling these complaints are a very important aspect of our business. How we handle complaints sends a message to present and future guests and, even more important, to all our employees.
In this and next week’s Post’s I am going to publish the full text of an email that contains a complaint and request for refunds.
After each one I will give you our version of the facts and ask for your comments. Then in future posts I will tell you how we handled each case.
Case Number 1.
Dear Costa Rica Expeditions:
We just returned from a 10 day trip to Costa Rica and stayed at the Monteverde Lodge for 3 nights. You are clearly a reputable and responsible company, so it is in the spirit of constructive criticism that I send these remarks regarding our stay at your hotel. My sense throughout was that those guests who book the hotel independently and not as part of your packages are treated as somewhat second class citizens. Fair enough, but since there were four of us – two adults, two children – we paid top dollar ($212 after tax per night in the low season) and might have liked a little more consideration.
Here’s what happened: on arrival, ask about a room upgrade (ours was on lower level in otherwise unoccupied wing, low ceiling, non-improved bathroom). No dice – but that’s OK, doesn’t hurt to ask. Afternoon of second day, arrive back to room and find an inch of water on bathroom floor (almost break neck discovering this), plus water running down wall. Pack clothes, move to room two doors down, unpack, and go out to dinner. Return from dinner and find several hundred dead and dying flies on the floor of our entryway, plus water freely flowing from ceiling tiles in bathroom and onto bed, as well as some of our clothing and all of our toiletries. Thirteen year old daughter “totally grossed out” by bugs. Quickly repack, with water raining on us throughout, and are offered another room on same hallway two doors down. Vehemently refuse and insist on room in another area of hotel. Move to another location, still ground floor. Spend the night with ceiling fan shorting on and off, making intermittent loud buzzing noises. No way to turn it off – tempted to pry the control from wall and throw it out window, but no screwdriver. Probably a good thing.
So all in all not a particularly pleasant experience. I realize the hotel was having some fairly catastrophic plumbing and electrical problems, and I’m sympathetic, but it seems we suffered an inordinate amount of inconvenience. And given the price we were paying, I would have expected a bit of compensation – even in the form a free drink, but more appropriately, a full refund of at least one night (say, the last during which we were unable to sleep and had to debate whether it was even safe to use our soggy toothbrushes)
That said, your lodge is lovely, and once repairs and upgrades are made, will again be first-class, I’m sure.
Services Purchased: Three nights Monteverde Lodge. Total spend: $636 Lodging. $86.54 Extras.
The facts in our view are as the guest states, except that the manager of the Lodge recalls that he offered them a complimentary dinner and they refused because they had plans to dine outside of the Lodge.
At checkout we did not offer any refund. They paid without protest.
The third night we moved them to a room where they did not have any problems.
Assuming that the facts are accurate what should have been our response?