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May 10, 2012

Hotel Room a Little Messy? Tweet the Concierge!

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

In some respects, using social media amplifies your existence, but if ever there was an area in people’s lives that could stand to be more vocal, it’s with our service experience.

USA Today reports that only 12 percent of guests will complain about hotel service issues via social media, but after hearing this story, everybody might want to rethink the way we interact through Twitter (News - Alert).

A man named Lin recalls to USA Today’s Barbara De Lollis, one of the best service recovery experiences of his life that came from tweeting his issue. After opening his mini-fridge in his new room at the Hyatt, Lin was disgusted to find an odorous leftover box of Mexican left behind by the former guest. He took a picture and tweeted it to @HyattConcierge.

Shortly thereafter, he received a tweet from the Hyatt, apologizing for the overlooked detail and offering him and a friend breakfast for the following morning. When Lin returned to his room for the evening, the burritos were gone, and there was a bottle of wine and a handwritten note of apology waiting for him. Lin has been a loyal Hyatt customer ever since.

Twitter is not just for politicians to send scandalous pictures across the U.S. What makes Twitter ideal for complaining is that it’s often hard to express dissatisfaction over the phone. Nobody likes to be the bad guy, and what if the recipient sounds like your grandmother, or worse – a hyperactive employee who bombards you with uncomfortable questions?

And as Lin’s story indicates, service is resolved rather quickly through Twitter. According to USA Today’s poll, the reason the majority of the 88 percent gave for why they chose to complain over the phone was that they felt the issue needed immediate attention.

However, you could probably reach your concierge quicker for your towels, than the time it took them to swiftly correct the moldy box of leftovers. The publicity aspect also works in your favor. Hotels are the embodiment of a customer service-based industry, so of course they use technology as means to improve their customer experience.

Turning to social media to complain about service issues is becoming increasingly popular. Ever since the “United Breaks Guitars” artist founded, customers have realized there is a sense of empowerment that comes from publicly expressing their grievances.

Other types of social media, such as Will of the People, allow U.S. voters an opportunity to gripe about issues concerning the upcoming election, instead of torturing dinner guests. A group of Sikhs decided that the best way to address concerns over TSAdiscrimination in airports would be through a phone app, which empowers victims of discrimination by granting them a voice. 

Voicing complaints through social media can be less inhibiting and more effective than cussing out the service representative at some call center halfway across the country.

Edited by Braden Becker
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