Another Customer Service Opportunity Gone Awry

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

About Culturedude

President of The Jeff and Bryce Fan Club, head cheerleader for my wife, Susan, lucky devoted brother of Beth and Barbara, perennial pal of the Bunko Squad, passionate customer service advocate, forever loyal fan of the Yankees, Packers, Buckeyes and Wildcats. favorite pastimes: writing, public speaking, golf, cartooning, reading, playing and blogging!
This entry was posted in american values, brand loyalty, Business, culture, Customer Service, perceptions, process and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Another Customer Service Opportunity Gone Awry

  1. Chris volz says:

    Wow, incredible! But so frustrating for you! Sorry this BS happened on a special day that would have been a delightful gift on their special day.


  2. David Galletti says:

    I am sad you missed the wedding and had all of these issues.


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