W Hotel Follow Up – Customer Service Frustration

Those of you who’ve read my previous post will be aware of all the facts of this incident. And I would just like to follow up with what has happened. The hotel has offered us hospitality and a complimentary room upgrade the next time we stay there. The GM of the hotel wrote an email directly to me to apologise for the incident and to inform me that “ I can guarantee you that it was not done voluntary. The talent whom got the information at the Welcome desk have been reminded to check first if the room number is matching with the name to avoid any mistake.”

On a separate personal note, I think it speaks very much to the ordinary frustrations of anyone when faced with such a problem that it takes a blogpost, and a frantic scramble on Twitter before any resolution can be effected. After I posted about this incident, Starwood’s official Twitter account tweeted me to offer their assistence. But I don’t think that should be the norm! Good Customer Service should be an automatic response, not one which needs to be forced out of the hotel by the customer!

I would very much love to close the book on this incident, and thank everyone for their support received on Twitter and Facebook. Starwood Buzz (@starwoodbuzz) should also be noted for proactively reaching out to me, and I really do appreciate that. Hopefully my next stay at a Starwood Property (St. Regis Singapore in Feb :D:D) would be reflective of all my previous wonderful experiences with Starwood.

A traumatising Customer Service Experience @ W Singapore

Those of you who know me, know that I’m usually quite a genial guy. In fact, I would go so far as to say I go out of the way to make sure people are not overly inconvenienced by me. As far as possible, when it comes to hotels, I try to be the ideal hotel guest, y’know leave the room is a nice state, not scatter alcohol all over, or throw a TV out the window that sorta thing. But this past experience at the W Singapore – Sentosa Cove over the weekend has been thoroughly traumatising.

Let me begin by saying that other than this particular experience, I had a really really good time there, and that had this not happened, I might have very well written a glowing review of the hotel. I would definitely want to go back to have breakfast there, if I’m ever in the neighbourhood. So on that front I genuinely have no hard feelings, and it is all things considered a perfectly fine hotel. But what happened was just so far beyond the pale that I cannot help but write about this.

It happened on the morning of 9th December, Michelle and I had gone out to Zoukout and got back late. We were in bed sleeping when I heard a noise, Michelle was sound asleep, and I was awoken by a rustle, and I said “Hello?”. A voice came that said something about soap. I was completely out of it and didn’t know what to say in response when the door shut again. But this weighed heavily on my mind for a long time. I wasn’t sure if it was a dream, an intruder, or what not. It was only when I woke up in the morning and told Michelle about it, that I felt that it must have been someone bringing down some soap to the room.

The sun came up and it was morning proper so we went to have breakfast, and after speaking to Michelle about it, we realised that we really should inform the staff about this so I called the so-called Whatever/Whenever line.

The member of staff that picked up the phone did not give a shit.

It was shocking to be honest to be on the other side of the phone talking to someone who was so completely uncaring and not willing to give a crap about my issue.  It was a complete turn around from the 4 other times I called the line, asking for pillows, and for other such bits and bobs, when people were pleasant and completely obliging. I would have thought that as customer service, a distressing issue like, someone randomly entering your room would take precedence over… a pillow but hey, who am I, to say. At that point in time I was quite unfazed, because frankly the reality of the situation had not really sunk in. Maybe I was just too shocked to realise.

So we packed our bags and went to check out. The first thing I said to the guy at check out was the explanation of the issue. And from the look on his face, I could immediately tell that he didn’t know what to do about it. He said that he would let his manager know and that he would get back to us. I told him over and over that I would like a proper response to the issue and he just didn’t seem to get how weird, and unsavory this was.

Now at this point, I should refer back to my opening paragraph, I try at all times to be a model guest. My belief is that if I’m a great guest to you, you would be more inclined to give me great service. But somehow, it didn’t seem to be clear, to anyone at any point what a terrible experience it was to have someone randomly enter my room. Amongst other scary possibilities, what if something was stolen, or if I hadn’t woke up or Michelle was alone? There are so many possibilities of what could have happened, and I am not exaggerating when I say that this could very well be a massive security issue and liability to a hotel if members of staff could just wander into guests’ rooms! Some have said that I should not have paid. I am beginning to wonder myself, if I should have kicked up a MASSIVE fuss as well. Because that would at least have solicited some sort of reaction, but that is not the way I wanted to resolve things. 

Later that day, the explanation did come from the hotel, and it was some explanation that some guest had allegedly come to reception, purported to be my mother? or possibly Michelle, and asked for toiletries to be sent to the room. And that if no one was in, that they should enter and leave it on the desk. Which, I take to be plausible. But must discount completely.

In the first place, My mom was sleeping soundly on the mainland. This booking was made in her name for me, and she was nowhere near Sentosa at the time. And Michelle did not at any time leave the room, so why bring them into the picture. It is obvious that it was someone else who got the room number wrong! Why not just accept that or suggest that to me, rather than give me some cock and bull story that I know is wrong, that insults my intelligence and worst of all, brings in other people who were simply not involved, and leads me to question why their names were even brought up in the first place. And in the second place, let’s assume they got it wrong. Because that is what it is. Is it REALLY so hard to simply apologise?

Having said all that, in fairness, I must thank @queenofejungle on Twitter, who DM’d me a really sincere and heartfelt apology. She really did try to assuage me later on. But this is not just in my hands anymore. Michelle’s mother was livid when she heard, and was quite cross with me for not demanding more action whilst at the hotel. And I don’t blame her, would you feel safe letting your daughter go somewhere where people can just walk in on you whilst you’re sleeping?

So dear reader? What do you think? I’ve tried to be as objective as possible here. Is it too much to ask for a simple apology, rather than some BS about other people’s problems and other people’s faults? I’m not asking for a lot, I don’t think, but merely someone to actually take some damn responsibility for their actions!