Enterprises: the sun doesn’t revolve around you

Yesterday we had an issue when checking in for our holiday at Landal GreenParks. We received the confirmation for our dinner on Boxing Day however we hadn’t received a time slot yet. So we decided to ask what the time would be and all of a sudden we heard that we wouldn’t have dinner at all at Boxing Day since they were fully booked and they hadn’t received the confirmation from the head office, or the confirmation was somebody in their spam etc etc. Instead of solving our issue, they only focused on explaining what their problem was and why it wasn’t their fault.

I suppose it is fairly obvious that is the wrong way around, though most organizations still think that the sun revolves around them, so their issues are the most important. That my wife, my son and I wouldn’t have any dinner on Boxing Day seemed like a lesser issue than that they weren’t to blame for all kind of bad reasons.

Just some small tips for organizations when something goes wrong and you have to explain it to a customer:

  1. First and foremost: solve the issue. Basically that is the primary interest of the customer, something went wrong and now it should be fixed.
  2. Don’t tell me who is to blame for this. It is your fault anyway since you are of this organization (in my case Landal) and I don’t care if there is a head office to blame, or that it is your colleague, or that it happened because somebody had bad karma. You are the one way who should take the blame and you are the one who is going to solve it
  3. I am not interested in your technical infrastructure and how poor your IT department is. The only thing I am wondering about is why you even have the idea that you want to serve you customers while it seems you haven’t even got the basics right. If you cannot manage my booking, how should I expect you to manage my food (since cooking is often more complex than IT).
  4. Don’t let me solve the issue. My work is solving problems, however when on holiday I am your customer and I would like that you treat me as your customer and make sure that things work out without me having to put extra effort in it. I shouldn’t even notice that something went wrong. If you want me to solve the issues for me created by you, you can hire me for my standard rates.
  5. If things go wrong, please give me the feeling that you are in control. We got a call later in the evening that they were trying to change things and that they would hope that things would work out. “Trying” and “hope” are poor verbs, you either change things and you solve it, or you just don’t tell me about the things you try. Just send me the message when things worked out, don’t disappoint me for a second time.
  6. Don’t just solve the problem, make me trust you again. Later that night things were all of a sudden solved (basically we got really angry and the queue behind us was growing steadily and we made sure that everybody in the queue was aware of the lack of service of Landal), however our problem wasn’t anymore just not having dinner at Boxing Day. In the meantime our son started to cry since he really looked forward to it, we got quite angry and annoyed since we booked everything months upfront to be sure everything was taken care of and we had to talk with somebody who blamed everybody for everybody but didn’t take any responsibility. Having the dinner at Boxing Day is something we planned for, we didn’t plan for a total lack of service and responsibility so you should work twice as hard, not just keeping your promise you made in the first place but also fixing the trust issue that was created by yourselves regarding service and responsibility.

In the end things worked out, though I think it only worked out because we complained (for at least 20 minutes) and we got the things we already paid for in the first place. If Landal would have focused on our issue, instead of on their problems this would have never happened.