My son and his beautiful wife got married recently. They did a destination wedding at the Sandals Resort on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia (Halcyon Beach).
I was unable to attend and wanted desperately to have a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered fruit sent to their room on the morning of their beachfront ceremony. Much to my chagrin and frustration, I spent an hour trying to make this simple task happen and failed miserably. I marvel at how an organization like Sandals can’t seem to get it right when it comes to customer service.
Initially, I called Sandals’ corporate office and was put on hold. I decided it would be better to speak with someone at the property to expedite the process, so I called the travel agent. She provided me with the phone number and I called and asked to speak with the person who coordinates weddings. She informed me that I needed to speak to someone in the front office so she transferred me. The front office person told me I needed to speak with someone in sales and again I was transferred. After a brief hold, a guy named Charlie picked up. “Hi this is Charlie, how may I help you?” Before I could get a word out, the phone cut off. Immediately, I redialed and got the receptionist. Here’s the dialogue…
Me: Hello, may I please speak to Charlie in the sales department?
Receptionist: We don’t have a Charlie that works in the sales department?
Me: Oh yes you do, I was just on a call with him and we got cut off.
Receptionist: I’m sorry sir we don’t have anyone working at the resort named Charlie.
Me: I find that very strange since moments ago I was on the phone with him.
Receptionist: Sir, I’m so sorry, we don’t have anyone named Charlie working here.
Now I’m wondering if Charlie is an alias or if the receptionist is just too lazy to track him down.
Me: (desperately) Can you please put me through to sales?
The phone rang about 5 times and I got a pre-recorded message, “Nobody is available to take your call right now, blah, blah, blah)
I hang up and call back, explaining my situation, with the hope that someone else on the property can help me. I’m told that I really need to contact Sandals’ corporate office.
At this point, I’m about to blow my brains out!
I speak to someone in customer service at corporate. I explain, what I’ve been through, thinking it will ignite a sense of urgency. Not so much. I mentioned the wedding arrangements were booked through a travel agent and she says, “Oh if you are booked through a travel agency you must call another number. I’m so proud of myself for not blowing up. Instead, I calmly asked for the number, called it and, ARE YOU READY FOR THIS? No Answer!
Now I have 45 minutes invested and I’m back to square one.
This is mind-numbing to me. It’s not like Sandals is a roadside motel located outside of Des Moines, Iowa. This is a renowned 5-Star Caribbean Resort. They aren’t bashful about what they charge and typically receive great reviews. I understand that on any given day, even the best can screw up. However, this was so easy — a simple request that they’ve handled 100 times over! I was clear in explaining my plight as the father of the groom. You’d think someone along the way would have put a halt to the escapade and said, “Don’t worry Mr. Campion, I’ll make sure your son and future daughter-in-law have the champagne and chocolate-covered fruit delivered to their room on their wedding day. Once again another example of the process taking precedence over pleasing the customer.
Just to be clear, I write blogs like this one with the hope that it is helpful to those at the top. It’s obvious that the front-line workers at Sandals are adhering to a process or a set of rules that aren’t necessarily in the customer’s best interest.
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Any comments, critiques, suggestions, random thoughts, are appreciated.
I hope you are having a delightful day. BC