An Update On My Choice Hotels Points Robbery Saga
Last week I shared my recent run in with the Choice Hotels customer service team. I won’t go into a ton of detail since you can check out last week’s article for the specifics. It essentially boils down to me being charged for a room we never stayed in because it was too dirty. Then I cataloged the hoops I jumped through in an effort to get my stolen points back. An effort that was pretty much in vain. Reader Teresa commented on the post, “Mark you cant give up, this cant be how the story ends”. I have good & bad news for Teresa, but one thing is for sure, this isn’t how the story ends.
Choice Hotels Reaches Out
A few hours after the article was published I received an email from Choice Hotel’s customer care administrator. (This is me paraphrasing the emails back and forth going forward)
He reached out to apologize for the entire ordeal and said that the experience was being shared with leadership to address and improve any knowledge gaps. He also said he wanted to make sure my points were refunded and to add some extra points as an apology. Lastly, he said that he knows this will likely not change my perception of the program but that he hopes I would be willing to give them another chance.
I was impressed with how quickly he tracked me down and responded to the issue. It was also impressive that he found the email that is on my Choice account versus the email I use on this website. I also thought the email was worded about as well as it could be.
In my response I thanked him for reaching out and for the points offer. I told him I don’t need the additional points but just the 25,000 points that were owed to me. I also said that I hope this does lead to some training and improvements in the customer service area but that I was skeptical. The reason I was so skeptical is because Citi said something very similar and I still get weekly reports that the issue hasn’t been corrected more than a year later. I understand that corporate wheels turn slowly, but you can’t help but think this is just corporate speak when you get emails like this after an issue arises.
Why This Is Good & Bad
This is good because it shows that there are some people in the company that can step in and correct an issue. The speed at which it was done, from the time my article was published at least, was impressive. The points were in my account the very next day.
The bad side of this is that it should have never taken this long, or this much effort, to get the issue corrected. Most people don’t write for a travel site, or have the reach to get something like this situation fixed. That is the sad reality of this situation.
We did have some people chime in over in the Facebook Group, and in the comments of the article, with some tips if you run into a similar situation. They had success when sending a certified letter to the CEO’s office and another started emailing higher ups in the company every day until one finally responded. The CEO trick seems to work for most companies, when everything else has failed, but you should never need to actually use it.
I reached out to the contact at Choice and asked what is a good email address to reach out to should someone have service issues. He said this is the email that goes to his team that he works closely with – CHSM@choicehotels.com. So give that a try if you are not getting anywhere via the normal routes.
Long hold times, untrained agents and front line workers with no power, or autonomy, is the world we live in these days, unfortunately. Some companies have realized that empowering their front line workers stops problems from getting bigger than they need to be. While others want to reserve the power for higher ups to try to curb being too generous. Or, maybe they just use it as a barrier to entry so people give up before getting the compensation they are rightly owed? Either way it leads to a frustrating experience and a loss of customers. I judge companies on how they respond when something goes wrong, that is a true test of their mettle. I wish more realized that is where the judgement happens and it only takes one time to lose a loyal customer forever.