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  • Michael Ruckman posted an update in the group Group logo of Relationship Centricity Relationship Centricity 5 years, 11 months ago

    Yes… yesterday was my birthday. Why am I posting about it ? Interestingly, I got a “happy birthday” e-mail from a hotel that I visited one time, for two nights, in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2008. Now, why is that interesting, and why is that relevant to relationship-centricity ? I am torn between how to dissect this incident…

    It would have been in very impactful if they had done this every year, but this year was the first time I received that message from them…. was my birthday less important to them during the last 4 years ? Why is my birthday so important to them this year ? Why is my birthday important only to the location of this hotel chain in Indonesia, but not the other locations of the same chain that I have visited in Thailand, Singapore, Beijing, and Shanghai. No doubt, this is the result of some recently implemented CRM system, and instead of enhancing the quality of my relationship with this chain of hotels, it merely comes across as insincere.

    On the other hand, there are other hotel chains where I spend sometimes over 100 nights a year in their properties, and I have yet to receive a birthday message from ANY of them.

    So, on one side, the message I received did come across as insincere. But, on the other hand, at least they made an effort even though I only spent two nights at their hotel over 5 years ago. Maybe they should have sent it from the corporate level and thanked me for visiting multiple locations of their hotel… just an idea.

    Any thoughts ?

    • This is very in testing, Michael. So, Indonesian location has it’s own CRM system that “doesn’t talk” to other locations. I guess it would depend on their company structure, but it seems like they have a very decentralized approach. Do you think it would change customer’s perception if the message is sent by the corporate office?

      Personally, I don’t pay attention to the birthday wishes from the companies I’ve been a customer of because I know that it’s some CRM system that is pushing it to everyone at certain date. Perhaps, they should make it more personal. For example, thanking for a specific customer behavior or offering big discounts for a specific products that a customer always buys.

      • I agree with both of you, Michael and Svetlana. I think it only brings more attention to the opportunities that they missed by sending a birthday wish so late in the game. I would have like to see a message come for the upper management that said…. Wow! We notice we had not acknowledged your birthday in the past; however, we are trying to improve our customer relationships! Therefore, we would like to buy you breakfast the next time you visit one of our hotels…

    • Odd that they would do that to you. This is sort of a double-edged sword for the company: on one hand, they did well to send you a message, but on the other, this message should have been ongoing instead of just happening now. Possibly they just implemented this system and that is why you only received this message recently? Regardless, it is an oversight on their part and they should have had a corporate message considering your loyalty to that chain of hotels.

      To that effect, I believe a message like this would be a better gesture if it was more personalized and came with some sort of recognition. Like Svetlana said, most birthday wishes are generic and half-hearted, but there are those that come with a special offer or a specific message. Just recently, I received an email thanking me for being a loyal customer for three years, noting that I recently became of legal drinking age, and offered me a free beer. Not only was I glad to see that they saw I was a repeat customer, but they noted my age and acted appropriately (or inappropriately depending on your stance on drinking). This reaches out on multiple levels: the company is connecting with me on a personal level (birthday wishes), recognizing my value as a customer (3 years of business), and offering me increased value (free drink). This is a great way to thank a customer for their business and convince them to return!

      My suggestion is this: point out their mistake, tell them how to fix it, and ask for a lifetime of free nights at all of their hotels. You are happy, they are happy, and future customers will be recognized!

    • Michael, first off let me begin by saying “Belated happy birthday!” This is quite the interesting story. To think that a hotel chain, especially one that is multinational, could make such a mistake is shocking. Like everyone has already said, a more personal message would have been more appropriate in this case considering how you are a regular frequenter of their locations. What I believe would have been appropriate is a full physical letter in thanks for your business and wishing you well. Would this make up for years of failing to acknowledge your birthday? Maybe yes and maybe no, but it would be a step towards improving their current system.

    • Just curious, which hotel chain did you say at? Sounds like they aren’t treating you with respect. Was the email one of those generic ones where they just throw your name at the top and send it? I just junk those types of emails because they usually are sent by a computer instead of by someone who actually cares.

    • Sounds like they blew you off for a few years and want you back now. Agree with Ray that they might just have set up the system, but still they should have said something every year.

    • Happy birthday Michael! I love your work and think that what you’re doing with relationship centricity is great for banks and for consumers!
      I don’t think that hotel chain is doing the right thing for it’s customers. They need to be more customer centric and create a more innovative customer experience if they want to get better. Maybe you need to go teach them how to be more relationship centric šŸ˜‰