My recent stay at a Hilton in Winnipeg has generated an example of what not to do when soliciting feedback from customers.
Let me start by saying that this hotel is fine. It’s close to the airport and has conference rooms, which were probably the criteria used to book an event there that I spoke at. Is it awesome? No. Does it need to be awesome? No. It’s not a destination hotel. Mostly, haggard business travelers fill the rooms. In fact, I met a guy who has been living there for the past six weeks who has strong opinions about the dessert menu (no fruit cobblers).
Now, onto my gripe. Hilton sent me a post-stay survey. No problem. I don’t mind filling out a few questions. However, Hilton’s survey had something like 100 questions. I don’t know for sure because I’m not OCD enough to fill out a survey that long.
So, I abandoned the survey after it was 30% complete. That then triggered this email:
Dear Edward Kohler,
Recently, we sent you an invitation to complete a Guest Satisfaction Survey concerning your stay with us at Hilton Winnipeg Airport, Manitoba, where you checked out on February 24, 2011.
We noticed that you did not have time to complete the survey. We are concerned that you may not have responded because we have somehow failed to live up to your expectations.
At Hilton, we are committed to providing a superior guest experience to every customer. Please take a few minutes to tell us how well we met your expectations.
To complete the survey, please click on the web address below. If that does not work, please copy and paste the entire web address into the address field of your browser.
Thank you again for choosing Hilton. I look forward to hearing about your stay with us.
Global Head – Hilton
Here is a hint to Dave Horton – Global Head of Hilton: If you need to send automatic follow-up emails to people who partially complete surveys . . . yadda yadda.
I took some time to respond to Dave Horton, Global Head – Hilton:
Dave, have you ever tried filling out your survey? It’s painfully long, and you don’t even bother to tell me what’s in it for me. If I wanted to let prospective customers know what I thought, I’d go to TripAdvisor or Yelp. If I had an issue with my stay, I’d let you know. Outside of that, make me an offer that I can’t refuse if you want my feedback.
– Ed Kohler
That received an immediate response from Dave Horton, Global Head – Hilton. I kid you now. Within seconds of sending my email, I received this:
Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:
Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 User does not exists, and you are not relayed (state 14).
I’m not sayin’, but I’m just sayin’ that Dave Horton, Global Head – Hilton is doing it wrong.