Customer Relationship Mismanagement 101

Isang sa mga  valuable na advise na lagi nating naririnig sa mga “True Blooded Sales and Marketing Guy” ay ang “it takes months before you can find a customer, but it takes seconds to lose them.”

And that what happened to me yesterday. However, in this case, I am the customer.

Gusto ko sana bigyan ng Customer Relationship 101 ang Banquet Manager ng Movenpick Hotel & Resort sa RC Yanbu, Saudi Arabia (hindi ko na uulitin pa uli ang name ng hotel na ito sa kabuuan ng komentaryo kong ito at baka sumikat pa ang 5 star kuno at pagkamahal mahal na hotel na ito), but sabi ko sa sarili ko, he’s not worth wasting my time. In this part of the world, and sa kanilang lahi (di ko nilalahat, meron namang magagaling talaga, pero majority ay ganoon), parang hirap na hirap sila na magserve sa customer. Mas gusto pa nila na walang customer para wala silang trabaho. It makes me wonder, paano naiemploy ang mga ganitong klaseng empleyado dito. And it made me feel so pride and full of pinoy dignity na daang kilometro ang layo ng pinoy when it comes to quality ng trabaho at pakikitungo sa tao.

We were 2 hours, 12 minutes in our 4 hours seminar sa Function Room 2 ng kanilang hotel when this Banquet and Events Manager kuno kuno barged in the room. He talked to my colleague Mar, and then signalled me to come over him. Fortunately for me, tapos na ako ng lecture ko and our partner Preston was the one delivering his presentation. Entrada ng mokong ay “what time will you have your lunch?” At sinundan niya ng “i have given instructions to the waiter to refill and refresh the coffee, juices, breads and pastries here for your coffee break at 10:30am”. Oh, thank you sabi ko. Tapos bigla ba naman akong siningil “can you pay the full amount now?”

SABI KO: “What? You want us to pay now, in the middle of our seminar?”
SABI NIYA: “Yes, it is our standard. Your bill is SR 8,050.”
SABI KO: “Can you wait until we finish our seminar – presentation, and that will be within two hours?”
SABI NIYA: “No! You pay now!” Whoah! Ang lolo mo, demanding pa. Gusto ko na bigyan ng CRM 101 lesson nang oras na iyon.
SABI KO: “Can you be courteous to your customer? I am your customer. We are your customer. Our company is your customer, and all of our visitors here are GMs, Managers, Supervisors and decision makers in their respective companies and you barged in the middle of our seminar (by that time, pinagtitinginan na kami), cutting me from interacting with these Respectable Gentlemen, embarrasing me in front of them, just to ask me for payment?
Sabi niya: “I demand payment now!” Whoah-part 2. Baligtad yata. Service ang binibigay nila supposedly, pero nagdidemand pa. At ang dinidemand ay payment before a service is fully consummated.
SABI KO: “And what will you do if I don’t pay now? Will you send us out of your hotel? Will you not serve us food, or stop us from taking lunch? Will you cut off the electricity in this room? Well, do it! I am very much happy if you do it! Remember that my guests here come from SABIC, Yanpet, SWCC, SEC, Saudi Aramco, GAS, Royal Commission, Marafiq. You have a lot of explaining to do to your GM once these guys start boycotting your hotel and spread the news about your arrogance.”

Umalis siya sa harap ko at inaya si Mar sa labas. Mar came back and told me, talagang kailangan na raw magbayad. Sabi ko ke Mar, with what our guests have seen, hayaan mo kung ano ang gagawin niya. Malaking damage sa reputation nila pag me ginawa siyang di maganda.

Dalawang linggo bago pa ang araw ng aming seminar-presentation, Mar has already arranged the room and had it reserved for us. And ang Manager na ito even told us that they can extend Credit Line sa amin dahil nga malaki raw kaming kompanya (siya na ang nagsabi noon, malaki raw kami, although ang nakikita ko lang na malaki ay ang ulo ng mga managers at pangulo namin na empleyado rin lang kompanya). He sent our finance group and Application Form for Credit Line, and in turn, ang isa sa dalawang pinaka efficient at talagang nagtatrabahong finance staff namin ay ipinadala lahat ng requirements. He even made follow ups araw-araw.

Then, 2 days before the seminar, we received an email na disapproved daw ang aming application and we have to pay in full so they can reserve the venue for us. Whoah-part 3! Ano? Kung kailan gipit na kami sa oras, naiannounce na namin sa lahat ang venue and about 40 have confirmed (VP, GM, Manager, Dept Head). Whoah-part 4! This hotel is driving us in the corner. Ang galing ng strategy. Tinuruan ako ng Marketing Mismanagement 101 lesson dito a. I thought of our other option. Ililipat ko sa Raddisons or Holiday Inn which are totoong 5 stars pagdating sa serbisyo dito sa Yanbu (kailangan magbayad sa akin ng advertising fee ang dalawang ito, hehehe), then send every guest a letter informing the new venue, then kako, sa road going to this bad hotel ay maglagay ako ng sign (iyong di nila puwedeng ipagbawal) reading: “Our seminar – presentation is moved to a BETTER VENUE.. please proceed to _____ Hotel.” Pero, late na talaga. Hirap na maglipat ng venue.

I called Mar the day before the seminar and asked him to go to the hotel, confirm the reservation and I will pay soon as I come to Yanbu. Grabeeee! Sabi ni BMF (Bad Manager Forever), “I am giving you 1PM deadline today”. Alas 11 ng umaga nung sabihin niya. I am outside the office having a meeting with Kellog Brown and Root, will be back sa office ng 1PM, take the check to the bank for encashment at 2PM, then go to my bank and deposit the cash at the earliest ay 2:45PM, then transfer the amount to the bad hotel (BH) account at maybe 3PM, pipila pa ako e. And my flight to Jeddah is at 4PM.. the airport is 45 mins drive from Khobar town. To cut the story short, hayblad na hayblad si Mar, naayos din naman, nagbayad siya ng reservation of SR 2,000 instead of the full billing.

Then, nasa Jeddah ako at 7PM, naiwan pa nga ako ng flight ko (that’s another story), tumawag si Mar at tinawagan siya ni BMF at sinisingil na naman. Tinatanong kung dumating na ako.

Back to the seminar, mga 30 mins bago matapos ang seminar, I gave Mar the full amount and asked him to pay BMF. I was goint to the Men’s Room when Mar gave me the receipt of payment, I opened the envelope and found that it is only an Invoice. So, we went back to the Front Desk to ask for the Official Receipt. BFM immediately went away and did not meet us. I demanded from the poor Front Desk Man for the Official Receipt. He told that it will be given to us once we are finished with the venue. I told him, tell BMF that he demands the payment now, I demand the OR also now.

They cannot find BMF.

Talk about customer service. Talk about claim of being “5-Star”. Talk about boast of being “The Best”. Talk about “Passionately Swiss”.

Talk about Jeffrey Gitomer… “Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.”..

—-00000—-

“It’s the same old story everywhere I go. I get slandered, libeled, I hear words I never heard in the Bible.  And I’m one step ahead of the shoe shine. Two steps away from the county line
Just trying to keep my customers satisfied. Satisfied.” – (Simon and Garfunkel)

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