Saturday, August 15, 2009
Two corporate errors - and two very different responses
I'm angry with Best Buy, and very happy with Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), about mistakes each made this week. It's their responses to the mistakes that are important.
IHG took the opposite approach. Its Crowne Plaza Hotel at Padova, near Venice, Italy, erroneously advertised its rooms for an unbelievable one-hundredth of a Euro (about 1½ US cents) per night, instead of its usual rate of up to 150 euros (about US $212.50). The mistake was allegedly made at IHG's offices in Atlanta, GA, not by the hotel itself. About 230 people jumped on the offer, booking an average of about six nights per person, before the error was detected and corrected. However, IHG have - quite rightly, in my opinion - accepted responsibility for the error, and stated that they will honor the bookings at the advertised price. I'm sure that makes those 230 customers very, very happy!
Look at the difference in approach. Both companies made similar mistakes. One chose to slam the door in the face of those who took advantage of it, leaving them (I'm sure) very annoyed and disappointed. The other stood up and acknowledged responsibility, and will honor the deals made in error. Which do you think now has the better reputation among its customers? Who will gain the most from the publicity surrounding both mistakes?
Bad move, Best Buy - and kudos to Intercontinental Hotels Group. Customer service like that should stand you in very good stead in the future.