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Friday, April 27, 2007

Customer Service

As you know we're celebrating T's birthday this week. She wanted to have a party on Saturday, and specifically she mentioned bowling. The most obvious choice in town is having a tournament this weekend so we couldn't reserve lanes there. I decided to call Jillian's and explore our options. This Saturday the bowling lanes were already reserved, but they had a billiards room available and they have tons of video games, etc for party-goers to enjoy.

At the outset I'll admit we procrastinated in making plans. I first spoke to the sales person last Thursday. That said, the room was available for the date and time we desired - Saturday evening. It was near the end of the day and I wanted to double check with T before I committed, so I asked the sales person, let's call her Christi, when and how I could call back to book the room. She stated I could call 9a to 6p but that she wouldn't be in until after 11a the next day, Friday. She also took down my e-mail address and promised to send me some information.

I hung up, called T, got her okay, and called the sales department back at 5:40p on Thursday - 20 minutes before they close. No one answered, so I left a message stating that I wanted to book the room for Saturday the 28th as discussed. Then I waited for the e-mail, which never came. Despite that I stay relatively busy throughout the day and I can be a little scatterbrained, I managed to call back the next day at noon. A female answered the phone and I told her about the reservation I wanted to make. She informed me someone else had booked the room.

I was livid. Frankly, I was fighting back tears because I was so frustrated. I went on to explain my communications from the day before; the person on the phone was unapologetic and continued to describe my other options: Saturday afternoon or Friday evening. Finally I asked whether my message from the previous evening had been received. She replied, "I just got here and haven't had time to return calls," meaning I was speaking with Christi though she hadn't identified herself as the person I spoke with Thursday. I answered, "Oh, so you've only had time to take other people's reservations?" Her answer was that one of the other members of the staff had probably booked the room. Other sales people? If I could have booked through someone ELSE why on Earth did she tell me she wouldn't be in until after 11a? Commission or bonus or something, I assume. She'd also copied my e-mail address down wrong, which is why I hadn't received it.

We booked for Friday - tonight. I have a deposition in Kentucky this afternoon, which means I'll be high-tailing it back to town to try to arrive before the party begins. I had to enlist the help of my Dad and sister J in the event I run into traffic or the deposition runs over. Not to mention that several of T's friends are unable to attend tonight, but would have been available tomorrow. I intend to call a manager today and request a discount on the room rental or the food cost (the total cost is unbelievable; I'm still in shock). Any advice on how best to approach? Any predictions whether they'll grant my request?


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