Scandic Hotels in PR crisis

Businesses are doing everything to make as much money as possible but, most of them aren’t doing enough to keep their customers happy. This is not what they promise in their marketing and PR messages, is it?!

Expectedly and rightly so, businesses focus on creating positive publicity; but what they have fundamentally got wrong is keeping the customer in mind. Although, every single business says that they put their customers at the heart of every decision they make. They don’t mean that, simply because they don’t care about people. The only thing that matters to them is money! Money buys them everything. At least, this is what they want to think. But they’re wrong; because their money can’t buy them credibility and authority. They might be running a big business and they might have a lot of money; but they don’t have personality and genuine intentions.

A business is successful when it’s trustworthy and not when it shows a healthy P&L account. Successful businesses do business with a purpose beyond making profit; making an impact and creating value. Successful businesses care about the sustainability of their brand because they know, they can’t buy loyalty. Loyalty is not to be bought but to be earned; and this is what many businesses such as Scandic Hotels have yet to learn.

Scandic Hotels created PR crisis for the brand

Businesses are taking real money from real people. Thus, it’s absolutely reasonable to expect them deliver value and exceptional service. In fact, delivering an exceptional customer service is the least a business can do for its customers. This is particularly true in events and hospitality sectors. A classic example here is Scandic Hotels for failing to provide their customers with what they paid for, let alone to meet their expectations.

Below is a real situation in which Scandic Hotels chose to do the least in order to get away with their obligations.

A couple of guests faced an unarmed reception upon arrival at one of Scandic Hotels in Europe and they had to wait for a while before a receptionist showed up. It took the receptionist some time to check the guests in. The receptionist failed to give more than one key to the guests, despite the prearrangement.

The guests weren’t told anything about the hotel, how to get to their room and how to use the inclusive services. The guests found their way to their room but they were unable to connect to the WiFi, for which they had to go back to the reception, because the telephone inside their room didn’t work. In addition, the guests were unable to take a shower due to plumbing issues in the bathroom, and not the cleanest bathroom for a hotel like Scandic.

The guests were unable to speak to the hotel manager on the following day, due to their strict travelling plans. As you can imagine, business-people are quite busy but when they receive a bad service, they vote with their feet; but they also make sure to give feedback to their service provider. When the guests offered their feedback to the hotel manager via email, they were offered “a complimentary breakfast” if they book with that particular Scandic Hotels again in the future.

Since the guests didn’t take that offer, the manager in charge changed his tone:

The only positive thing in the second email from manager is the “thank you” bit for informing the hotel about the problem with the bathroom. And the hotel chose to put a closure to this matter and never contacted the guests; despite the fact the guests replied to the email above and asked for a response.

Here are just a few more examples to see how badly Scandic Hotels is handling customer service:

As you can see Scandic Hotels chose to ignore every customer after a couple of messages. What do you call this?

Where Scandic Hotels should look to for inspiration

On the other hand, Novotel, part of Accor Hotels, is a great example when it comes to effective communication. And if we look at businesses like BA and KLM, they’re pioneering corporate communications. They’ve been integrating social media communications with their CRM systems to manage their customer expectations. They’ve created a collaborative internal communication culture and built a strong relationship with their audience. They truly engage with their community, rather than trying to be in “control” of conversations.

Being obsessed with control can have irreparable consequences to reputation and Scandic Hotels knows this very well because they’ve lost their appeal and failed to prove their relevancy to professional business-people. This is alarming to see how customer service is undermined by hotels such as Scandic Hotels at a time when it (customer service) makes or brakes the strategic growth and storytelling agenda.

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