Last weekend we visited sunny Cebu to witness the beautiful wedding of our dear friends.  Their reception was held at Crimson, where many of us were also checked in.  Amidst all the excitement of getting ready, a non-eventual trip to the 2nd floor common restroom should’ve have been just that- non-eventual.  But just as soon as I twisted the silver lock, it popped out! Of all the rotten luck, I thought.  But I thought it would be easy enough to jimmy the lock using my pen.  That only resulted in pushing the screw entirely out the other way.  So I was stuck. I screamed, banged the wooden door with my sandal and sent telepathic messages to my husband who was waiting outside.  I couldn’t even use my phone because my battery was dead.  The cubicles were practically sealed in floor to ceiling by the large wooden doors, leaving only a tiny space in between the glass panels overhead.  So I prayed that someone would come in soon.  Some 15 minutes later, two kind ladies went to get help when they realized I was stuck inside.  And after a few more minutes, an engineer worked his magic on the lock.  I was a bit upset that something this silly could happen at a world-class resort like Crimson so I was explaining my frustration once we were outside the restroom to the engineer.  A manager (who happened to be a foreigner) overheard our discussion and decided to step in.

His manner was too defensive and he began with “we’ve never had this happen to us before.” in a tone that was a little insulting to me.  It was as if I was the only idiot that ever got locked in their bathroom which had the faulty locks to begin with.  Though he apologised, his tone and body language were aggressive and he didn’t sound like he was sorry at all.  Even if he said the word sorry several times, it seemed more like he was matching my feelings of anger and frustration.  I originally found the situation a little bit funny, but his way of handling things was what made my temper flare up.

When we got to our room, our aircon was busted so my husband calmly reported the incident to have it checked.  The engineer confirmed that the aircon was on the fritz and recommended we move to another room.  My husband phoned the front desk manager recounting what had happened earlier and that the first manager we had spoken to had asked us to tell him if we thought of anything to make it up to us.  It could have been cultural, but the Filipino manager was extremely courteous and sincerely apologetic.  He sent over complimentary fruit and a bottle of wine, which he said came from the previous manager we had spoken to.  And we were upgraded to a better room.  It was less than a 5 minute walk to the pool area and main hotel.

Complimentary fruit and wine

Complimentary fruit and wine

Room 123, Deluxe Garden Room

Room 123, Deluxe Garden Room

 

Image source: Crimson website (deluxe garden room interior)

Image source: Crimson website (deluxe garden room interior)

Many times how you say something is more audible than what you say.  When dealing with a delicate customer situation, never make your customer feel that what happened was their fault especially when it is clearly a matter of your establishment’s facilities.  Apologize sincerely and fix the problem as quickly as possible.  Two different managers had two very different approaches.  The first came off as sarcastic and defensive and the second was sincere and efficient.  The second manager was definitely the one that gained our respect and gave us relief that our issues were heard and acted upon.  He allowed us to focus on what we were there for in the first place, which was to celebrate a happy event.

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