Like many other businesses, communication is critical to the survival and success of our hotel. The ability to respond promptly to booking requests is directly related to the level of occupancy. If we do not answer emails quickly, there is a strong possibility that a potential guest will move on to another property and/or destination where they feel they are more appreciated.
So, whether we like it or not, we are almost hostage to the monopoly landline provider, Cable and Wireless (Barbados) Ltd. If I start counting the days, one or more of our telephone and internet lines have been out of service over the last year, it is staggering. Even when we have an internet connection, often the speed is dramatically short of the promised delivery.
Last week we reported one line out of order through the call centre in St. Lucia or Jamaica. A sixteen digit fault reference number was given and a remedy was promised ‘in 12 working hours’. 5 days later, we are left to wonder exactly how Lime defines a working hour. In the lodging industry of course, we operate 24 hours, seven days a week. If this was an isolated incident, it might be more acceptable. But this is the second time in a month that this same line has been down and the previous report, despite receiving another trillion length reference number, no engineer turned up at all.
With rumours that the company has applied for imminent rate increases during the worse recession in almost a century, defies logic. Especially when they have, certainly in our case, demonstrated a total inability to maintain anything approaching a satisfactory service.
The level of frustration trying to deal with this company is so counter productive and time wasting. On occasions, I admit that rather than attempt to speak to someone that can barely master the English language in a remote ‘customer service centre’, I have cheated by going straight to the top of the organisation. In most cases this has resolved the various problems in a timely manner, but does this demonstrate a long established, well managed company with a culture of dealing with their clients concerns? I urge every senior manager with Lime, to become one of your own customers for a day and endure what the people paying your wages have to go through.
Compounding the dissatisfaction, is the constant saturation bombardment of advertisments by the firm boasting improved products and services. But isn’t it long overdue that they try and get some of the basics fixed first. Personally, I don’t want to hear that you are ‘projecting’ a profit of $200 million this year and your staff are demanding a pay increase of 17 per cent. We just want to get the service that we have been paying for over decades. As the minutes tick away before the publishers deadline to submit this column, surprise, surprise our ADSL internet connection is down yet again.
So back to the process of once again calling 1 800 804 2994, perhaps whilst attempting to practice Creole, pressing almost endless numerical options and unproductively just listen to the number ring and ring and ring unanswered. Another totally wasted two hours (so far) and who knows how much business lost. Seven ‘working’ hours later, or a whole normal business day later we still cannot access or send emails.
We deserve better!