How to shoot yourself in the foot with customers — in one easy step.

Don’t pretend you care — or a customer may call your bluff.  Let me illustrate.

I recently booked a reservation at a spendy and apparently well-regarded hotel, located in a major American city and boasting a complete concierge staff. In other words, a hotel that should be up to any challenge a guest could throw at it.

I had no plans to throw any particular challenges their way. But then I received a pre-arrival email from the GM inviting incoming guests to “write back to me with any requests you may have — even attach a photo of something special to you that you’d like us to provide on your visit.”

I thought this was lovely — fantastic, really.  And  I replied with a simple–simple!–request.

Nobody answered.

I tried again.  Again, not a word.

On my third try, I got a reply (this is now well into the second day of effort on my part).

“No, we do not carry that” was the single, less-than-a-sentence reply.


Fine.  I don’t mind brown-bagging it, but why pretend otherwise?

When you’re in business and you claim to care/to be willing to go the extra mile/to customize,  you’d better mean it.  Or you’re shooting yourself in the foot, Maxwell Smart.


© 2012 Micah Solomon, author of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service

Micah Solomon, author of “High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service“, is the customer service strategist and business keynote speaker termed by the Financial Post ”a new guru of customer service excellence.” Solomon is a top keynote speaker, strategist, and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture — and how they fit into today’s marketing and technology landscape. An entrepreneur and business leader, he previously coauthored the bestselling “Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit“.


“Micah Solomon conveys an up-to-the minute and deeply practical take on customer service, business success, and the twin importance of people and technology.” –Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder

Micah Solomon • Author-Speaker-Strategist • Customer Service – Marketing – Loyalty – Leadership

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1 thought on “How to shoot yourself in the foot with customers — in one easy step.”

  1. There seems to be an epidemic of hotels not responding to email. (The same thing has happened to me several times.)

    When I’ve done a little digging, there’s usually a disconnect somewhere in the process. For example, the message comes from the GM, but the reply-to email goes to a generic mailbox that lacks a clear owner who can fulfill guest service requests. The list of other possible failure points goes on, but you make a great point that hotels must deliver on these types of promises.

    Incidentally, this approach is terrific when there is someone on the other end of the email who does care!

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