Hyatt Globalist Service Issues
I have a story to share with you all, a story about Hyatt Globalist service issues. This is one of the more bizarre customer service issues I have come across and reeks of the level of ineptitude normally saved for a Marriott Bonvoyed experience. Not something you would expect from Hyatt. We, here at ToP, are big fans of the World of Hyatt program and their normally reliable hotel & customer service experience.
This instance flies in the face of expectations though. The story that a buddy shared with me is a complete dereliction of duty from a management perspective. Maybe it hits harder for me, coming from a management background and that being my focus of study in school. But, this is management for dummies level stuff. This story shows you exactly what you don't want to do with your customer or employees. Let's dive in and you can let me know your thoughts.
One of the perks of reaching 60 elite nights is getting access to a My Hyatt Concierge. This used to be a highly sought after perk of the status since its inception with the launch of the World of Hyatt program in 2017.
In the beginning people raved about the personal service and how clutch their Concierge was. They could be used to help with missing points, applying upgrade awards, customer service issues, doing point transfers and guest of honor bookings etc.
Over time I have heard less and less glowing reviews, though. So much of your experience depends on who you are assigned to as your concierge, as are most customer service things in life. My guess is that as World of Hyatt, and therefore Hyatt Globalist status, have rapidly expanded they haven't kept up with desire on the back end. They likely have more Globalists then they have competent Concierge reps to handle them. That added stress load can make even competent reps look incompetent at times.
So, what happens when the person that is supposed to help with customer service issues has customer service issues of their own?
My Friend's Story About Hyatt Globalist Service Issues
That brings me to my buddy's story. He has had the same Globalist Concierge rep for around a year now and wasn't really satisfied with their response or ability over that time. The last straw was over the summer when he had a trip lined up with a suite upgrade award. At check-in the hotel manager told him there was a glitch in the system and his suite upgrade award wasn't attached any longer. He was also told the hotel suites were all already booked and there was nothing he could do. When he reached out to his concierge to see if there was anything that could be done the response was essentially, bummer man. No alternative solutions, no compensation, no reaching out to the property…nothing.
Trying to Get a New Globalist Concierge Rep
At this point he knew he wanted a new Hyatt Globalist concierge rep. He decided to wait until he requalified with 60 nights again this year to reach out. He wanted to show that he was dedicated to the program and a valued customer. After hitting the 60 elite nights he reached out with what he thought was a simple request, could he be moved to a new Hyatt Globalist Concierge representative?
Hyatt Globalist Service Issues
Let me lay out the timeline of how these Hyatt Globalist service issues went when he asked for a new Hyatt Globalist Concierge rep. I'll then share my thoughts on this entire experience, and why it was a clinic in what not to do in management, down below.
Timeline Of Events
- He reached out to get a new rep via email and was told he would hear back within 7 business days in early November.
- After more than 7 days he had not heard anything so he emailed again asking for a follow up.
- After a couple more days he still hadn't heard anything, so he called in to try to get someone to help him. He was told someone would reach out soon.
- A few days later, close to two weeks in total since the initial request, his current Hyatt Globalist rep reached out via phone on a Saturday afternoon.
- They then followed up via email a few hours later saying that they knew he was looking for a new rep and if there was something else they could do for him. They also shared the the 1-888 number in case he needed immediate assistance when they were off the clock.
- He responded explaining that his biggest need was more timely responses from the Concierge. The Concierge in turn responded to the effect of “I'll do what I can” without any firm or genuine commitment to improve.
- Still nothing had happened a week later so he called in checking on the status. This is when he was informed that his new rep would be reaching out to introduce themselves.
- That never happened.
- He followed up, for a 5th time now, and was told his initial request was denied. This was news to his ears, especially since at last point of contact he was told he would be getting a new rep. The agent told him the case was closed because he never responded to the current concierge's email. They said they would open a new case on his behalf.
- He called back on Monday this week, time number 6 reaching out, and asked to speak to the manager of the team. The rep informed him that the manager was in a meeting but would reach out directly.
- On Wednesday evening he finally received an email from the manager, and it essentially told him to pound sand. They apologized for the delay, and for his issues, but said they are not making any changes at this time.
- He has since asked for the manager to call him in the next several days to discuss all of this.
The manager said that the slow response was because of the busy time of the year. I get that the end of the year has a lot of onboarding with new Globalist members, etc. However, this was started over a month ago, when things were likely a lot less busy.
My Thoughts On This Service & Managerial Failure
This response really blows my mind on multiple levels. Hyatt just alienated one of their top tier elite members for something as simple as moving a person from one email inbox to another. This was a crash course in what not to do in the management and customer service realm.
This is how I would have handled the situation, as I often had to do something similar in my previous job.
First Step: Management Team Contact
When a complaint comes in, and the customer is asking for a different front line rep to work with, the manager, or a member of their team, needs to reach out to the customer. The goal is to show the customer you have heard their complaint and that you are taking it seriously. During that time you ask for details on the issues so that you can review it with the employee. You tell the customer that you look at it as a training opportunity for the employee. This is the same process if it is my best employee or my worst employee. I don't care if I already know the customer is a problem customer or not, this is step one. Even if it is just lip service in your mind, it needs to be done.
Deciding on a New Rep or Re-selling the Current Rep
At that point, when you actually deal with the customer versus just ignoring their communications, you have to make a judgement call. Do you think this customer can be retained with the current rep with promises of better service and improved training? Or, do you know the employee has short comings and is unlikely to follow through on promises and you will end up right back here again in a few months?
This decision is at the utmost importance, because at this moment in time you have a chance to win the customer over even better than you had them before. If your employee is competent and able then you can say the customer will be this employee's number one priority etc. Tell the customer that if anything goes wrong they can reach you directly. This may not be an option at all if the customer has already reached their breaking points. That tends to happen if they had to jump through multiple hoops just to get here. You will only know that when you actually make contact and get a feel for the customer's pain level.
On the employee side, if you need to make a change, then you can do something to compensate the rep that is losing the business. That is assuming you didn't find wrongdoing of course. You can also compensate the person getting the new customer if there are issues on that end as well. Making it work for your employee and the customer is your job after all.
Close the Complaint with a Positive Result & Follow Up
This is where great managers separate themselves from good managers. You will want to close this out with a positive result. Whether that is convincing the customer to give the Hyatt Globalist Concierge rep a second chance or assigning a new one. Either way, you will want to check in with the employee and make sure the customer's needs are met every few weeks for the first month or two. Then, after a few months, you reach out to the customer directly to ensure the solution you landed on is still working out for them. Complaint closed!
At that point you have turned an angry customer into your best customer for life. Every pain point presents an opportunity to resell yourself, your company and your product / service. People that know that their complaints will be heard, handled in a direct and competent manner, and shown care after the fact will be your most loyal clients.
What Not to Do
That is how I would have handled this situation, which is completely opposite of what happened. Here is what NOT TO DO as a manager. AKA exactly what World of Hyatt did:
- Don't let the complaint go unheard and let the anger fester with the customer
- If it is an easy fix then handle it quickly, not after 6 or 7 phone calls or emails.
- Don't have the rep that has the complaint against them reach out. This is awkward for the employee and the customer.
- That is especially true when they have no personal relationship and are only email addresses to each other. It is bad for both sides, that is why managers are paid more.
- From what my friend could gather this seemed like their normal operating procedure and how they are required to handle it per their systems.
- Don't tell the customer no when it isn't something that is over the top or unrealistic
Hyatt Globalist Service Issues: ToP Thoughts
To be honest, I feel terrible for the Hyatt Globalist Concierge rep. They were put in a terrible position here by their manager and Hyatt's systems that are in place. It is especially egregious when the fix is a simple enough task to handle. Unless the rep fought the manager on the change, and refused to give my friend up, I don't see how they would have this be their standard operating procedure. Even then, the manager should have made contact and fought on behalf of their employee, not sent them out on the front lines again. What likely happened is the manager said I am too busy, handle your own mess.
The Simple Fix
Hyatt has new Globalists onboarding to the Concierge program likely every day. If you can give those people a new rep why wouldn't you just treat my friend the same way? Give him to whoever was next up and then backfill his current rep with whoever is the next new Globalist member. That is a simple fix. Plus, if you are crunched for time or overwhelmed you don't even need to deal with the customer by going this route. Just tell them the new rep will be reaching out and handle it on the back end. Easy peasy. This could have all been wrapped up within a matter of days by having a good process in place.
Management, not the Concierge Rep, Is Really at Fault Here
Now my friend is stuck in an awkward place, as is his World of Hyatt Globalist Concierge. Hopefully they provide excellent service going forward, and win him back over. The problem is that it should have never played out this way, at least if there was a competent manager running the show. The blame lands at the manager's feet. They caused these Hyatt Globalist service issues by not being responsive, helpful or coming up with a clean resolution.
Let me know your thoughts over in the ToP Facebook Group on this incident.