Real customer feedback means asking the right questions

The BillingViews gang descended on London recently for the IIR Pricing Data and BSS conference. They needed a hotel, and being careful with their pennies, they looked around. Hotels were ridiculous prices but a reasonable and furnished apartment not far from the venue was found – and booked.

The Chief Virtual Officer set off from France.

Just as Chief Big Cloud and his retinue were about to set off from Scotland an email popped into his inbox. It said that the apartment manager had managed – or mis-managed – to overbook the apartment so we would have to find alternative accommodation. Calls were made, even as the Chief Virtual Officer sat and drank coffee just down the street from the overbooked apartment. The first alternative was rejected since it was just one bedroom and some of us just won’t sleep in the top bunk anymore.

After a few minutes a solution was found three stops away on a tube. The Chief Virtual Officer was given keys and all was well – apart from the fact that the apartment was on the first floor – noisy street, trucks and taxis all night long, no sleep.

The point, apart from first floor, noisy, trucks, taxis etc was that three emails arrived after the trip asking executives for feedback.

Except they didn’t really.

What they asked was whether the apartment was convenient for local attractions. Well, yes, on account of it being on one the busiest, most central streets in London. And how did [insert name of booking agency] deal with the difficulty with regard to having to change apartments? Well, actually they were responsive, polite, the phone was answered quickly, can’t fault that part of it.

Yet, nowhere was there that email or phone call that asked just how annoying the fact of being moved from (what looked like) a quiet, convenient apartment into an inconvenient (two changes of tube train) and noisy one. Or whether we would use [insert name of booking agency] again.

As such, the reviews of the apartment itself remain at 7.7, on account of it being central and convenient to many tourist attractions (you can hear at least three of them) and the reputation of the booking agency remains as high as before because they handled the situation well.

And yet, without going to the time and trouble of finding a contact form, or picking up a pen and paper (and finding an address to write to) nowhere were we allowed to say that the whole thing was inconvenient, noisy and badly managed. And, no, we won’t be using you again, thank you.

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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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