Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The distinct difference between service in SG and HK hotels

Before my plane even landed, I could see the layer of smog in the air and it only reaffirms my wise decision to leave the land of horid air pollution. Yet despite my misforgivings about HK's bad air quality, I look forward to meeting up with my ex colleagues for dinner tonight. It has been a while since i left, and certainly been hard to maintain contact since they are not very fluent in English for most. So i guess emailing in English would have been quite tedious for them.

Anycase, checked into HK Mandarin Oriental and my observations fairly states that hotel staff in HK are MUCH MUCH MUCH MORE WELL TRAINED than Singapore counterparts. Its not the first time I have observed the SIGNIFICANT difference but this trip has once again sealed HK as a top service industry to tourists (situation can be different at times when u actually live there)

To give a comparison. When we checked into Hyatt Singapore, we were given the wrong room type upon check in. We didnt realise till we were in the room. My partner called reception to query why we were chucked into a small standard room when he had obviously spoken to the reservations about the junior suite he wanted under corporate rate. He had gotten an email confirmation but we didnt print it being in a rush and assuming that Hyatt Singapore wont screw up such a simple reservation.

However, instead of a 5min conversation, the ordeal became half an hour heated arguement where the hotel manager refuses to honor the reservations for the room we booked (because they thought we didnt have any black and white confirmation letter to back our claims), for the rate we book for. They tried to quote us a price which was higher than what we saw in the internet, which they couldnt deny when we challenge them. My partner was so angry and despite him telling them not to make further excuses and that they are making him really angry, they proceeded to ignore what he said and repeated a bunch of stupid "policies" and the whole check in process quickly deterioted to a horrible and unpleasant affair. Finally, my partner yelled and said to just give us the fking room we wanted and he dun care about the price, and only at that point did the manager gave us the room we had requested for. Is this the sort of "Disaster Recovery" training?

After we settled down, we had to PAY for room internet to locate the email confirmation and printed it out. We brought it to the manager the next night who then said she has no choice but to honor the confirmation. I didnt know how their reservation systems could have lost our booking, and worse, the staff didnt believe us, didnt apologise nor know how to placate an irate customer and only made us more upset throughout the whole incident.

In HK, when we arrived at HK Mandarin Oriental, we too discovered with dismay that the staff from UBS who was suppose to do our booking screwed up and booked it under a wrong date! We didnt know as the staff had not sent us a confirmation email. Just when we were feeling horrified, the hotel reception Gloria sensing our horror (at the possibility of no rooms being a crowded week and occupancy rate was high), immediately tried to reassure us by saying she will check for us if there are any rooms available, and the room type and request that met our needs.

She cheerfully informed us after a min search that she found the room and because she handled the whole issue so efficiently that there was no need for us to feel upset. After check in, the porter took our bags, and another female hotel staff led the way and brought us to our room. It wasnt the porter who showed us the room details, it was this very pretty, well English spoken with american accent Hk staff who guided us through. The room was smalle than singapore Hyatt, but its nicer and more recently refurbished. She made us felt welcomed and gave the warm feeling that we are guests, unlike in Singapore where we felt that Hyatt was sending a message that said "U are welcome to take your money elsewhere."

The disparity is so obvious. Singapore hotel staff needs to be better trained to leave our guests feeling satisfied. We are lacking so far behind...
Anycase, I really like the refurbished HK Oriental Mandarin Hotel. The only 2 down sides was the sink area didnt have a door and so its quite disturbing to the person trying to sleep when you can hear the tap running and splashing sound, and the main corridor was very warm and lck of air ventilation. However, overall it was a great stay there and I loved the fact of checking my bill, phone voice messages from the plasma TV. Almost Everything in the room was very well thought out and modern. I especially like the Hermes shampoo smell and their small soap case...

1 comment:

littlecartnoodles said...

Hi, there. I agree with you totally.

One difference between HK and SG consumers is that the HKer is not afraid to chew out customer service people if they are unhappy (whereas the SG consumer just shuts up, goes home and writes a complaint letter to ST Forum) So that just puts a little fear into the service people in HK to get their act together.

My point ? We should treat customer service people in SG like children - they should be yelled at once in a while.