Thursday, August 26, 2010

The New Guy, Part 2

Aaaand he quit (without doing the night audit during his shift last night). Wow. That was faster than I expected.

The New Guy

We have a new front desk associate. Well, I guess new isn't really the right word anymore. He's been here for over a month. But you wouldn't know it from the things he does. In the time he's been here, he's:

Chewed on the ends of all the pens at the desk.

Somehow changed all the vacant dirty rooms to vacant ready - twice. We have no idea how he did this, but my manager really enjoyed frantically checking every room to find clean ones for check-ins.

Turned on all the movies even though he was told we keep them off unless a guest requests it. I then received a bunch of panicked calls the next day - "I didn't mean to buy a movie! Can you take it off my bill?" "Oh, don't worry sir, the movies are all off unless you request otherwise." I then see that every room has their movies turned ON. It was a real WTF moment.

Lost a guest's tax-exempt form, and made me get a new one from her - I actually found it later that day in the night audit. It doesn't belong there.

Told a guest that we gave her room away when we didn't. I come in at 7, and this guest, who was supposed to check in the night before (but had a room guaranteed with a credit card) is standing at the desk while NG runs around frantically checking vacant rooms for a clean one and telling me that no rooms are clean in the system. Meanwhile, I pull up the room status report and two kings are listed as vacant ready. "What's wrong with 303? Or 227?" "What? Oh...nothing, I don't think."

Oh boy. I did some training with him myself, so he's been taught how things work here, and it's not brain surgery. The GM says as long as he tries, that's all you can ask for. Oh? So, if a housekeeper couldn't do her job but tried hard, and we got complaints about every room she did, that would be fine? The problem here is really just simple immaturity (he's just out of high school), combined with a perpetual head in the clouds. But it's hard to find people to work nights, so I guess he's staying. If he doesn't quit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WIthin Reason

I'm aware I do a lot of complaining on this blog. My readers (if I have any) may think I hate all the guests, management, my coworkers, and people in general. This is not true.

I like many of our guests. Most people stay without any problems, are pleasant to deal with, and easy to resolve problems for. If people have a reasonable complaint, I have no problem fixing it for them. Like the ant guy - I can understand being upset by that. Not having a newspaper at your door? Not a reason to get upset.

If people have a reasonable complaint, I will offer a solution as to how I can fix that for them. If they don't like my solution, they should feel free to offer a suggestion of their own. Again, one within reason. You are not getting your stay comped because the clock in your room was not working. Nor should you come and complain about the room upon check-out. "I didn't want to be on the first floor!" Well, then you should have come and told me that after I checked you in. I once checked in a woman several hours ahead of the check-in time, and all that was available was a first-floor room. I asked her if that was alright, and she hemmed and hawwed then said fine. I told her if she didn't like the room, to come back and I would move her. Well, she never came back - but she did complain in that week's GSS.

One of my favorite guests is a woman who stays with us every week. She is very particular. Very particular. So why is she a favorite? Because she tells me what she wants and isn't ridiculous about it. Once, we couldn't put her in her regular room. She was in a room nearby. The next morning, she comes and complains that the room is dirty. I apologize. Her response?

"Don't be sorry, it's not your fault." No, it's not, but most guests don't care whose fault it is. At least someone recognizes that I'm not responsible for everything in the hotel.

She asks if she can move back to her regular room. It's now vacant, and I tell her yes, housekeeping will move her things for her. She leaves happy.

See how easy things are when you're polite and reasonable?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our Goal Is...What, Exactly?

A guest came down this morning and asked me if I was the manager. I told him I wasn't, that the manager wasn't in yet, and asked if there was something I could help him with. Often, guests think they need to speak to the manager, but their problem is something that can easily be fixed by ME.

So he starts telling me how much he loves my hotel brand, how he always stays at our brand, how he's the highest level rewards member, etc, etc. Right off the bat, I know he's going to be a problem. You know how I know this? Because people who aren't assholes don't throw around their membership level in hopes of getting better results. I can look up your reservation and see that membership level, at which point I will do my absolute best to help you. Why? Because satisfying these level guests is a priority. I know this - there's no need to so loquacious.

Anyway, he tells me how his business associate, who is traveling with him, found ants in his room last night. I'm already aware of this - the evening guy left a note - and I can see he was moved immediately, 5 minutes after checking in. But for this guy, that's not good enough. He says this guy always stays at a rival brand, but he told him that traveling with him, he just had to stay at our brand. He's so embarrassed, he's going to be hearing about this for the rest of the trip, and so on.

Now, I would be happy to refund part of the bill for him. The problem is, I've never been told by my management that I can do that. So I tell him management will be in at 9, and ask if he'll still be here.

"No, we're leaving at 8."

Okay. So I tell him I'll relay the problem to management and they'll take care of it when they come in.

"That's really not the answer I was looking for."

I tell him I'm sorry, but I can't make refunds, and tell him again I'll let them know.

"That's not good enough." And he leaves.

He came to the desk slightly after 7. Management wasn't in yet. But one of them lives at the hotel, and he usually comes out for breakfast a little before 8. So I wait, and call him at 7:45, hoping he'll tell me I can just refund part of this guy's stay and I can let them know before they leave. I give him the whole story, tell him this guy's a high level rewards guest, and that they're leaving at 8. Sounding irritated, he tells me to tell him management will take care of it. I say that I told him that, and he wasn't happy. Whatever, he doesn't care, he tells me they'll deal with it later.

So a half hour later, he comes in, dressed, and starts talking about his stomachache the night before. One, I'm irritated with him for not helping me before, and two, I don't really care. This guy's kind of a narcissist, and I get the impression he doesn't enjoy the job and would rather be back at his old one. After 25 minutes, he asks me about the guy who complained earlier.

"Is he still here?"

I stare at him. Didn't he listen to what I said when I called?

"No. They left at 8."

In the end, the operations manager had me lower the guy's rate to $99, and I called and left a message letting him know. And I now have permission to give money back, as long as I don't go below $99. But the thing is, our GSS (guest satisfaction surveys) have been dropping a lot lately. No one's complaining about the staff specifically, but we've been told those need to go back up. This was an important guest who I was trying to keep happy, and I was ignored by my manager and therefore couldn't resolve the guest's problem. He left dissatisfied. So if our goal isn't customer satisfaction - what is it, exactly?

Customer Service

I find customer service to be an odd industry. It rewards people for being whiny brats.

Yesterday, I had a guest come down to pay cash. But first, he asks me about newspapers. I point to the table where we keep them. and he asks why it wasn't at his door this morning. I am momentarily stymied, but tell him we don't do that and again point to the table, where over a dozen newspapers are neatly stacked.

"You did it the last time I was here!"

Well, we don't do it anymore, so go grab one and stop bothering me. He thens complains about his TV not working the night before, for which I apologize. He pays cash and I check him out.

He then went to go get breakfast, and comes back, waving one of the small milk containers in my face (unopened). "These are expired! You have expired milk!" I can't see the expiration date with him waving the container around, so I reach for the container. He won't give it to me, and I tell him I'll get him a fresh one. I come out from behind the desk, and he leaves. He then goes back upstairs to his room. That he checked out of.

Housekeeping, thinking he's left, went into the room to clean it and he gets very upset, calling the front desk and asking for our complaint number. At this point I transfer him to my manager. $9/hour is not enough to deal with this bullshit.

He wanted his money back, but my manager said that wasn't going to happen. Instead, he got some free rewards points. And, may I add here, he used a coupon to get an extremely low rate - then complained about everything. People...

And by the way, my manager checked every single container of milk we had in the kitchen, AND went into the garbage to look for expired containers. Does it surprise anyone to learn that he didn't find even one?

Friday, August 20, 2010

If You're Not Staying Here...

So, I just had a couple walk in. Kind of trashy looking, but I put on a smile and asked them if they were checking in. They say no, and the guy asks me how much for a suite. I tell him, "We don't have suites here, sir" as his girlfriend starts digging through the candy bowl.

"Oh...okay. Let's go." He turns to leave, but his girlfriend is still digging through the candy bowl.
"You want a Jolly Rancher? What flavor do you want?"
I watch as she takes all the Jolly Ranchers from the bowl, along with some other candies.

I think they probably came in just to get candy. But if you're not staying here - you can't use the computer, you can't use the pool, and you shouldn't be taking the candy. Those are for paying guests. I'm more than happy to give some random person directions, or let them use the bathroom, but leave guest pleasantries for the guests. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why I Need to Find a New Job

So, when I started this blog I never intended to write any posts on the management at my hotel. I like my immediate boss, the operations supervisor. I like the GM, I like my co-workers (except when they're 15 minutes late to take over my shift), I like everyone. I'm that kind of person.

So today, I got a phone call asking to speak to my boss. The person on the phone asked for him by name, but their phone reception was terrible and I could barely hear them. And, as you would imagine, we get a lot of solicitors calling our hotel. So I asked them their name. Very politely. "Who's calling, please?" And then again. "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?" And I still can't hear them. So I ask again.

He snaps. "I already told you 3 times!" I tell him, "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't hear you." "Just connect me! Does it matter who's calling?!?" I tell him, yes, it matters - I need to know who it is so I don't pass on a junk call (though I left that last part out). He refuses to tell me who he is so I just pass him along to my manager, figuring he can deal with this rude asshole (a bit redundant, but appropriate in this case).

So I connect him, and he's promptly disconnected - perhaps because he's in an area with very poor reception? I go into the back to find out who the jerk was - maybe it was one of the people from our franchise management company. There's one guy who calls every day, multiple times, and I just recognize his voice and connect him to the back. But I'm thinking no, because the person was so rude and he's always been polite on the phone.

So the guy calls back on my manager's cell and surprise - it was the guy from our management company. He's yelling into the phone about how rude I was and my manager goes outside to take the call.

Now, I was not rude. I would admit it if I was, but in this case I was not. It's not my fault he didn't have any goddamn cell reception. He tells my manager that I can't tell people that I need to know who they are before I connect them. (???)

Maybe I'm being oversensitive. I worked the 3pm-11pm shift last night (because I'm nice and agreed to switch when asked) and now I'm working the 7am-3pm today. But honestly, when management treats employees like they're idiots and screams at them, that's a morale deflater. I am SO angry right now - I take all kinds of abuse from the guests, and I don't need it from management. And I was in a pretty good mood when I came in - despite 4 hours of sleep last night. I need to find a new job.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Anticipation Alone...

Tonight was a quiet evening at the hotel. No problems, everything went pretty smoothly, didn't have to get any rollaways. All in all, a good night. Except for the phone call.

Ah, the phone call. A woman called to check that we got the requests for her reservation. A room on the first floor, near the front desk. I pull up her reservation (expedia, of course), and see that she's coming in a month.

"Yes, ma'am, there's a request for the first floor on there."
"But is it near the front desk? I want it near the front desk."
"Of course, let me put in that request for you."
"You have 24-hour front desk service, right?"
"Yes ma'am."

Oh boy. She's not even here yet and I already know she's going to be a pain in the ass.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And On the Opposite Side of the Spectrum...

In another story from the weekend - had a guy check in with two reservations. I ask him if he'd like to check in for both, and he says no, the other people will check in later. After I give him his keys, he ask where the second room will be located, and I tell him I've put it next to the first one.

Guest: "Oh. Could you put it somewhere else?"
Me: "Umm, sure. Do you want it on another floor?"
Guest: "Yeah...or the same floor's fine. Just not near mine."

Not Close Enough

So, I checked in some guests over the weekend. Two sets of...friends? Maybe cousins. Whatever, I don't know and I don't care. The two reservations were under the same name, so when I blocked the rooms I put them close together. They come and their rooms aren't ready yet, so I check the computer and find 2 rooms that are - 216 and 219. I check them in, they leave the desk.

A few minutes later, one of the women from the party comes back to the desk. I didn't see anyone else with her, so I thought they went up, but who knows. She says to me "Are these rooms next to each other?" I tell her, "No ma'am, but they're very close together."


I tell her that we don't have adjoining rooms. Honestly, I am puzzled by this woman. Our rooms are set up in sets of 2, so 216 and 219 aren't right across from each other - that's 215 and 217, and 218 and 220, respectively, but they're still close. I ask her if she went upstairs to see the rooms yet. She tells me no.

Seriously, why would you come and complain before you've even seen how far apart they are? I tell her to go upstairs and take a look and see if the distance is acceptable. She didn't come back after that.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm Not A Mind Reader

So today I had this woman leave the hotel, at about 5. She was supposed to stay over another night, but decided she was unhappy and had to leave. It actually all worked out, because we were overbooked due to these awful people who were sent over from another hotel who refused to check out. That's a whole different story for another time. But this woman called the front desk to tell me she had to leave, that she just "couldn't stay in this room any longer".

I asked her if the problem was something we could fix. "No, no," she told me, "I want to leave". Okay, fine. She comes down to the desk and complains some more, about how she's going home now, how she wants to stay but can't stay in that room, etc, etc. Then she starts going on about how she's a frequent customer of my hotel chain and how "someone's going to hear about this". Okkaay...a frequent customer without a rewards card. Don't meet many of those.

Then she left. I still don't know what the problem was with her room.