What Ever Happened to Common Sense?


I know many of us ask this question several times a day, but I really want to know the answer. Maybe someday.

I was traveling a couple of weeks ago and stayed in two different hotel chains. The first experience was great. The second hotel experience begs this posting’s title question.

After a delicious dinner with some long-time colleagues it was time for some rest. I needed to call home, check email and read some blogs and get prepared for the next day. As I was working I kept hearing a strange noise in my room, but I dismissed it. I told myself, “It will surely be gone when I decide to go to sleep.” It wasn’t.

So, after trying hard to be patient, I called the front desk. “Can you move me?” I asked. “Yes we can” the clerk replied. So I repacked my bag, got dressed and headed for the front desk.

At this point, common sense comes into question. When I arrive at the front the desk, I am given new room keys and the clerk says, “Oh, you were in 118, a lot of people complain about that room.” I looked at her in unbelief. “If a lot of people complain, why do you put people in the room? Why don’t you fix the problem or close the room?”

It sounds so simple doesn’t it? And, for whatever it’s worth, I’m a premium member with this hotel chain. What good does it do any business to provide not only below average service, but to also alienate their best-level customers? Common sense would tell you that if they had an open room that night (and they did) this room should have been empty.

Good ol’ common sense. Injecting some of it into our processes and daily communication with customers would help many businesses to not only grow but also create customer evangelists.

My wife and I just moved. We needed to transfer our phone service to the new house and the phone rep for Bell South forgot to ask my wife about our dialing preference. Apparently Tennessee and Georgia are the only two states that have both pulse and touch-tone dialing charges. The Bell South technician came to the house to connect the system and could not call his office to remedy the fact that we could not dial out. That’s right, a phone technician could not call his own office – at least that’s what he told us. Consequently, we signed up with Comcast for not only cable and Internet service, but also their new phone package. They really wanted our business and actually served us with, you guessed it, common sense.

Good ol’ common sense. Those companies that empower their employees to serve customers by meeting customer needs understand its value.


One Response to “What Ever Happened to Common Sense?”

  1. Scott says:

    I heard once that psychologically children go through a phase where they can’t see past the decision they are making at the time to weigh the possible consequences of that decision. They quite literally have no common sense. It is during this period that most accidents occur, and is the time of life most frustrating for parents.
    We all make decisions in a vacuum from time to time but like you, Wayne, I wonder sometimes if the service industry suffers from this permanently. We are so caught up in policy, and following the rules, and not being able to see past the decision that is being made at that moment that, in the end, our customers suffer.
    I went through the phase I mentioned earlier with my oldest daughter over the last couple of years. Too often I wished that I could equip her with a life remote that had a big “Pause” button on it. That way she could stop before making any choice and think through it and come to the best conclusion.
    If only that life remote existed when I was standing in front of someone offering me service. If only they could see past the policy, procedure, or bad habit they are about to invoke and see the end result and offer me the choice that best wins my loyalty.
    If only…

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