Very rarely do I need to post in my “Opportunities for Excellent Service” section. Companies need to show a complete inability to ensure customer service based on their own warranties or what is expected. When I do run across an experience that is egregious I need to let everyone know what to expect and how the company can work towards communicating better with the public.
Let me start with this, vacations are a luxury regardless of the discount or deal provided. Understanding this, a company that offers something that is 100% optional to the public should tread lightly and go over and beyond to create an experience that makes a vacation necessary. Especially in this world of outsourcing and tech-service. No one wants to call a company for a non-essential service and receive service that they can receive by just using a computer or an app. Otherwise why even bother calling.
With this understanding, I need to explain why there are far more options for cruises and vacations than carnival cruise lines. I need to try to keep this short. The experience it self is long and drawn out and still not resolved.
I booked a cruise based on a promotion I received boasting reduced down payments back in January. I went on a cruise with Carnival the year before and it was not horrible, so I decided it was a great deal. I received notification that the final payment was due. Since it was summer, and I am a substitute teacher, I called to ask if an extension would be possible. I spoke to an agent who said yes. When I was ready to make any type of payment, I could call back for an extension. I called back for an extension. I spoke with an agent who said she can provide a 7-day extension with my 50.00 payment. I said that’s wonderful. However, I needed a little more time. I said is it possible to push the trip back. She said yes. We agreed on a date that would allow me until the end of August to pay. I pay her 50.00 to extend the trip.
I received an email itinerary. Everything looked wonderful except there was an extra 100.00 admin fee that was never disclosed. Of course, I called back to dispute the fee. I will spare you the drama and just tell you since then I have been hung up on and yelled at by agents defending the actions of other agents. I have asked to speak with a manager and I was told no such thing can happen. It was my fault for listening to the first 2 agents.
As stated in the 2nd paragraph, cruises are optional. They are not necessary. My husband and I travel often. I have never received such horrible treatment for such a simple request that should have initially either been denied or approved. Here are things Carnival can do to improve their service:
This new segment will specifically be labeled “Opportunities for Excellent Service”. When you see this title, the content will include a review of one of my many adventures or research trips. The goal is to provide an objective view of the experience. The information will have facts about the experience, my personal feeling on the experience, and what could have been done differently (if anything at all). The company name will be listed; however, employee names will be left out for purposes of anonymity.
This past week my husband and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary. Due to personal medical issues, the goal of the trip was to remain in stress free environments that allowed the opportunity for rest and health monitoring. The trip started with a short cruise and ended at the Historic Mission Inn Hotel and Spa. (http://www.missioninn.com/)
The Mission Inn is near and dear to us since we renewed our vows at this location 12 years ago. We have stayed at the property 1 other time after renewing our vows. We were familiar with the beautiful property and amazing guest service. On this stay however, something different happened.
The true opportunity for excellent service is something I talk about in other blogs when it comes to setting the customer expectation. If the hotel was going to dismiss the incidental deposit policy that is listed on their website and on their front desk counter, they should have advised me correctly. This changes my willingness to order room service at all.
It also appeared the front desk manger was not trained correctly in some manner on how to address incidental holds in relation to incidentals charged to the room. When the agent heard me, and acknowledged that there were already holds on my account, he should have followed standard hotel policy to release the holds or allow the charges to settle. If he was not aware how to do this he should have waited for senior management to assist.
This does not change my view of the property and how amazing the grounds are. I would still recommend this property. I will however work with management to make sure this does not happen to any other guest. This is just another opportunity for excellent service.