Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The power of social media improves customer service! Yeah, right.

Back in October 2008, when I was blogging as Ontario Emperor, I wrote about my stay at the Days Inn on Rosecrans in San Diego. I also submitted a review on Yelp for the motel, giving it one star.

One would think that negative reviews on a service such as Yelp would inspire a business to improve its practices.

One would think wrong.

While there are a few positive reviews of the motel, primarily because of price, most reviews are in the 1-2 star category.

Here's part of a review from April 2009:

The room smelled weird when we first arrived. We had a standard 2-bed free breakfast suite for 4 nights. There is one TV in the living room, and one TV in the bedroom. The TV in the bedroom did not work. The bathroom was clean ... but the toilet did not work that well. Everything else was okay. The furniture definitely needs some upgrading!

August 2010:

First off, the [toilets] did not flush, So I looked at it and found the water supply line turned off, no big deal... I tried to turn it on.. Knob was broken.. uhh ok, called for maintainance.. waited 20 minutes, guy came up and looked at it.. told me it was fine.. haha.. I went back to check on his work.. he turned the supply line off again.. OK, no big deal, I was able to turn it back on with my own tools. - fine it works good enough. Later, I tried to turn on the rooms AC, got it to work for 10 seconds and all this crud blew out of it. (this tells me it has not works awhile).

Later in August 2010:

I made it to the "seedy" room only to find that it was moldy and musty! Yuck! It was one of the most disgusting rooms I've ever seen!

June 2011:

[W]e inquired about the airport pick up at least 3 times and confirmed that it was at noon. However, the shuttle didn't come until after 12:30, and the girl at the front desk could not care less. First she said it'll be there in 5 minutes, and when we asked again, she said 10.

August 2011:

[W]hen we got in there, one of the rooms had that stench of smoke. We booked non-smoking rooms weeks ago. A crib, which was also requested when we booked the rooms was not there. We complained at the front desk, and after a long time of shuffling around rooms we finally got one that did not smell. They had to separate the two room, but luckily we were able to swap with our friends, so at least two of those rooms were together. It then went downhill from there: the AC was not working, and neither was the TV.

Average review is 2 1/2 stars. As I said, there are some positive reviews.

One could reason that (a) you get what you pay for, and therefore there is no expectation to get good rooms at this location, and (b) the motel's proximity to Seaworld, Old Town, and the Marine Corps boot camp ensure that the motel will get customers no matter how bad it is.

But I'm still surprised to see that certain problems such as reservation issues (in our case, there were ashtrays in our non-smoking room), non-functional TVs and toilets, and staff issues still persist at this location for years, despite several complaints and at least two parties (myself and one other) canceling our reservations within a few minutes of arriving at the place.

The reason for this? It's because even in these days in which we imagine that everyone is cyber-connected, the majority of people apparently go to sites such as Days Inn's own site instead of going to Yelp or TripAdvisor (which rates this motel as the 175th best hotel out of 247 in the area).
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