Customer Perception

One of the requirements of the ISO 9001 Standard is to 'monitor customer perception of satisfaction'.  Here's an excellent way of doing that it that I'd like to share with you.

On an overseas trip that I took, I stayed at a number of hotels. 

Two really stood out. One was the Rendezvous in Singapore, the other the Royal George in Perth - that's the one in Scotland, not the Australian one.

The Royal George is relatively small, family-owned and run. It's in a historic old building, rambling and nicely done up with a slightly old-fashioned charm complete with creaking floors in the bedrooms (we on the top floor trod as lightly as we could in consideration of those below). No lifts - but strong fit young men wrestle your bags upstairs for you, bless them. The hotel is very proud of a large,and to my mind somewhat ugly, plaque in one of their many comfortable lounges - this celebrates their official 'Royal' tag which was conferred by Queen Victoria.

Perth is very a pretty little town, with the River Tay running through; the hotel overlooks it on one side, while on the other it looks toward the town (it covers a small block). My room looked out over the Tay River and a bridge over it designed by Smeaton.  He's the same chap who built the Eddystone Lighthouse and a very fine designer he obviously was: the bridge is still standing after many a fierce flood.

The Singapore Rendezvous was in a different class: very large and modern. No creaking history, everything very snazzily designed and finished.

So why am I telling you? Similar things impressed me about both: their attention to guest comfort, the staff's consistently helpful, friendly and 'can do' attitude, and the thoroughly nice atmosphere in both. You'd think that would be basic in a hotel, wouldn't you? One of those things that could be considered to fall under clause 7.2.1b) of ISO 9001 requirements "not stated by the customer but necessary for specified or intended use, where known".

Now you'd think such things would be basic in a hotel, wouldn't you? I would too.  But it doesn't always happen.

There's a very useful site called Trip Advisor which I use to check what other people have said about somewhere to stay. I didn't use it to choose the hotels I've just mentioned as they had been organised for me, but I used it again recently to find a hotel for a work trip. And just for interest's sake, looked at the reviews of these hotels.  OK, mine too.

What I saw was that someone from each of those two hotels had written an individual response to every review. Not just a few of the reviews, but to EVERY single review posted about their hotel. And not someone junior, but a senior manager in each case. Writing a sincere and individual response to each and every one. Thanking one person for saying nice things about them, and saying it had been a pleasure. Expressing regret at a more negative one, but also very gently and in a very reasonable voice pointing out some surrounding circumstances which the complainer had neglected to mention.

Overall, I was highly impressed by the manager/owner taking the time to do that, clearly a regular practice. It's one of the more intelligent ways I've seen recently of someone using that site as a way to monitor feedback, as well as communicate with past and potential customers. And given that kind of approach, it's no wonder they were such extremely pleasant hotels to stay at.  

Have you ever wondered if a similar web site existed in your field, what people would say?

And if or how you might respond if they said something positive?   Or negative?