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Customer Service: Let-Down in Luxurious Luzern

Customer Service: Let-Down in Luxurious Luzern


This weekend I attended one of my networking community’s Christmas parties at¬†one of Luzern’s more established upscale¬†hotels.

The club’s president had¬†given me several dinner choices the week before by email, and I started looking forward to the event.¬† The “brand expectation” for this hotel, in my own simple mind, bordered on elitism¬†yet also¬†high-quality.¬†

Then, four days before the event, I received an email from the club president.  The hotel had contacted her and said that only four people had chosen the Lemon Curry Chicken, so they would not prepare it.

What a let-down!

It was the only white meat on the menu, but that wasn’t what let me down.¬† I certainly understand when I order a dish at a restaurant and they tell me they’re out of it.¬† C’est la vie!

But to say, a week in advance, “Not enough of you have ordered one of the choices we offered, so we’re not going to make it for you,” essentially tells me that they don’t think I’m very special.¬† They don’t think… I’m worth it!

I arrived at the dinner half-expecting and half-hoping for a less-than-top-class, brand¬†experience.¬† My expectations were fully met.¬† The “Wow! Factor” was only a negative one. ¬†Several things happened in which the hotel sent me a clear message: “You’re not very special.”

Were my expectations what tainted my actual experience?  Am I an unreasonably demanding customer?
Or, in the Brave New World, with even mass market brands trying to find “mass customization,” is this elite establishment missing something?
Are there lessons to be learned here?


Photo by Tinu2808

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  • Ps

    Hi Jack,
    I know what you’re talking about, I have experienced similar situations. For me, this has a huge impact on the credibility of the event’s organizers: if the hotel is not up to the expectations, then why did the organizers choose it? Didn’t they care? Or didn’t they think the attendees were special enough to deserve a really good hotel?
    – Peter

  • Thanks, Peter.
    Perhaps because the club’s organizers are my colleagues I’m overlooking any fault of theirs, but my personal view is that the buck stops on the desk of the service provider itself, in this case the hotel. The club is a not-for-profit community and it takes willing and energetic volunteers to keep it going. The hotel has, over the years, had a very good reputation. It is a for-profit organization and its brand / reputation has been tarnished not just in the eyes of the Lemon Curry Chicken lovers.
    I do like your point, though. In everyday business, one’s own reputation and brand can be damaged by the providers we choose, so entrepreneurs in the Brave New World should take notice!
    Thanks again for your comment!