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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

10 out of 10?

The Hilton in London, ON, is a fine, clean, and efficient hotel. But it can't earn a 10 out of 10 on surveys by asking for it. rates it 16 out of 29. Number 1, by the way, goes to Homewood Suites, also part of the Hilton Group. Next time in town, I'll stay there.

Everywhere in this hotel, in the lobby, on each floor, in the lounges, and in cards in the room, you see this sign and message:
Welcome to the Hilton London.

As a valued guest you may receive a survey after your departure asking how your stay was at our hotel.

Our goal is to receive a 10 out of 10 for our overall service score

If we have fallen short of a perfect 10, please dial zero and allow us the opportunity to make it right.

The Hilton Team.
Ugh. Is this hotel really interested in providing great service, or is its staff/management interested in obtaining a really high survey score. The service here is okay, nothing bad, nothing truly "wow, this is out of the world exceptional", the room is clean (but has an 80s look to the carpet and furnishings), prices are reasonable, nothing wrong, I'd stay here again, but, oh, is it really a 10 out of 10?


Will I dial zero and allow the hotel the "opportunity to make it right". Why? The place isn't bad, they've provided everything essential for my stay, met all the basic standards and so on. But the incessant survey message suggests they've fallen into the survey and measurement trap, where the survey means more than the substance, and the score means more than what really matters.

In a book on leadership, (sorry, don't have the copy here so can't remember the author's name), the writer describes how he inadvertently walked into a hotel staff room and saw a full-face mirror on the exit door, with this message: "Look at yourself, and see how others see you". Great service providers, like great hotels, do not plaster their surveys in front of their guests; they look introspectively and find the answers within -- and the guests get the message without being told it.

Ten out of 10 service is something you have, you share, and you are: It isn't your survey.

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