Thursday, 3 June 2010

Feedback & Reviews

Here's a message from a happy chappie that we thought we'd share with you...

Dear all at Clachaig Inn,

You probably don’t remember us but we stayed with you on 4th and 5th May during our walk of the West Highland Way.

I just wanted to say ‘Thank You’ for a great place to stay. The food and hospitality was excellent, the staff also were friendly and helpful.

We managed to complete the way in our allotted 6 days and are well on our way to raising the £5000 we set as a target.

Anyway to remind you who we were here is a link to our website:

Many thanks again!

Best regards,

Bill & the Wogle Walkers

Great to hear from our customers, not only (but perhaps especially) when they've enjoyed themselves (yes, we do remember you, Bill.) We do hear these little bits of feedback quite a lot. Mostly at the front desk as our residents depart or at the bar during the course of the idle chit chat that is central to the convivial Clachaig atmosphere.

Service with a smile!
The only problem is, we're not very good at sharing this feedback. And therein lies the problem.

A little note like this can boost morale on hot, tiring nights in the Boots Bar tremendously. Go on, try a shift here, sample the adrenaline on a busy night and see all the happy faces and you'll know why we love being here so much. But, equally, some negative feedback can really bring us down.

You get what you deserve? From our point of view that's very true. Lots and lots of happy customers. Over 50% of our hotel guests are in the 'repeat business' category. And yes, the (very) occasional bit of negative stuff, sometimes deserved because we got it wrong, but sometimes just a case of not quite getting what Clachaig is all about.

Its been a hot topic here of late, mostly because we've had a bit of a knocking on a certain review web site.  Hands up when we get it wrong, and why shouldn't the world know too? But where's the balance? It does seem a little skewed. And just what is the point in a review 3 years after your stay? Just who does that help? And how many folk have I spoken to who create an identity or ask a friend to put in a good review to put the bad one further down the list? No, we're not impressed.

Head in the sand attitude I hear you say? Not at all. We actively solicit the feedback of our guests, and for the last 18 months have been running a very detailed and methodical feedback scheme. We ask 11 questions and also leave plenty of space for the 'free text'. Every week we collate the returns and 2 directors and a General Manager review each and every form. Name another business where that happens! Specifics then go on to Department Heads, and front-line staff as appropriate. We also convert the results into a score. The number itself is fairly arbitrary, but the week on week, year on year comparisons of the scores give us a very good indication of how we're doing.

To date we've had nearly 1,000 returns. They're all here in a bulging file! Our "satisfaction rating" has risen from 73% in 2009 to 77% in 2010. Out of the 11 questions asked, 10 have shown similar and consistent improvement. The only one decreasing is the question about our web site (which has got us puzzled) and is the area that would concern us least.

So, we think we're doing a good job, and so do our customers. We just need to share this information a little more.

And nmny thanks for the email Bill. Really appreciated. And if you happen to be visiting any review sites in the near future (or the next 3 years come to that), do us a favour and give us a mention!