While customs, traditions and cultures differ around the world, there’s one thing customers always appreciate: efficient and attentive customer service.

I spent a lot of time in hotels last year as I was photographing each of the 20 Formula 1 races and, over the course of my eight months of travelling, I saw examples of both fantastic and appalling customer service.

During my time staying at the impressive Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, I had an interesting experience.  I’d just finished dinner and was handed a promotional flyer with the bill.

I wouldn’t normally be interested in a hotel newsletter “subscription”, however after seeing the glaring spelling error in the headline, this piece had my full attention.  Subscribe (or a derivative of it) popped up three times in the top section of the promotional piece and each time it was spelt a different way – all of which were incorrect. To cap it all off, these professionally printed pieces had an added typo in the bottom paragraph.

Now if this was a three-star hotel on the outskirts of a city where English wasn’t the first language, you might congratulate them on having a go. But in a five-star hotel like the Hyatt, in a country where English is the main language of business, this sort of sloppiness stands out.  It says, “we just don’t care”!
Now, when I mentioned this to the waiter the first time I spotted it, he looked at me blankly, shrugged his shoulders and said something I couldn’t quite make out.  In this instance, he should have
a) thanked me for pointing out the oversight, and
b) left me without any doubt that something would happen.

Subscription Restaurant

Perhaps he’d raise the issue with management immediately, or have the forms withdrawn from circulation.  What he mustn’t do is leave me with the perception that nothing was likely to happen.  But that’s exactly what I was left thinking.

When a customer raises an issue with any business, they want to know they haven’t wasted their time.  Any business worth its salt should be thanking the customer for going out of their way to raise such issues.  They are adopting the role of a non-paid consultant providing invaluable feedback that may well save the business money or, as in this case, embarrassment.

I did raise it again a few days later with a waiter who was much more alert.  He returned within a minute or so of me discussing the flyer with him saying he’d alerted his manager. I do hope they’ve sorted it out.