Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: Tourist Information

Is Customer Service Dead?

I have to ask where has customer service gone and if it is still practiced, how low can it go? Whatever happened to “the customer is always right?” The worst part, this customer service disaster story happened in a tourist information centre.

Al and I were in Western Australia. We had just arrived in Margaret River, which I might add is a very beautiful part of Australia. We had no idea where to stay so we thought we would go to the Tourist Information Centre which was very conveniently located right on the main street.

It was a busy place so we dutifully stood in line to wait our turn to be served by the young girl at the counter.  After a 5-10 minute wait, it was our turn. The conversation went something like this:

“We would like a room for the evening. We were thinking a nice little B&B perhaps overlooking a vineyard?”

(look at watch) “Do you realize it is 4:45 and we close at 5?”

“Does this mean we can’t book a room?”

“I will try to find you something, but we don’t have much time because we close at 5”

“Okay, we were looking for a quiet B&B”

“Let’s see what I can pull up on the computer. Here, I have a caravan park down the road?”

“We were not really interested in a caravan park, we were thinking a B&B?”

“Okay, let’s see what else I have. Oh, here’s another caravan park. This one is called Riverside!”

“Is this all we can get? Because we were kind of thinking about a B&B or something funky, with character!”

“What do you mean by funky?”

“Something different? Does the Riverside Caravan Park have a cabin overlooking the river?”

“No, it’s not on the river. (Look at watch again) What about a hotel built in the 1800s? Would that be considered funky? It’s nearby too!”

“Oh, that sounds great. That is what we meant by funky. So…it’s quite nice?”

“Yes, it’s very different because it is so old”. (look at watch again) “It’s called the Grange on Farrelly!”

“Okay, we will take it if we can get a room.”

She quickly gave us the confirmation number and the address and sent us on our way. After all, it was now 5 and she wanted out of there. She had told us to look for the round sign with 1886 written on the front gate. Sounded so quaint! What seemed like a very painful conversation might have turned out to be worth it in the end.

We drove up and down the street, but couldn’t find the place. The only accommodation was a Comfort Inn motel!

It finally dawned on us. Round sign? We checked the address and yup, it was the typical late 60’s, early 70’s Comfort Inn! On the front gate as we drove in we saw the little sign, 1885! Turns out only the restaurant is from the 1885, the rest of the hotel was built around it much later on! No view, no spa tub, no tub at all! At least we got to park right outside our room!

I am left to wonder, were there no B&B’s available? Did the girl get a “cut” if she booked us into one of these lower end accommodations? ¬†Were her listening skills that poor that she never heard us say B&B? Or, more likely was she in such a hurry to get out of there that she just wanted to book us into “whatever” and then leave with no care in the world for our Margaret River experience? I suspect it is the latter. My only hope is that she decides on a career outside of tourism! Perhaps accounting would work for her as she was very good with numbers or at least the numbers on her watch!

Thankfully Margaret River and the surrounding area is so beautiful and has so much to offer that our night in the little motel did not deter us from having the time of our lives!

Finding the actual Tourist Information Centre (there is a sign pointing to it from the freeway, but that was it, no other sign after leaving the freeway) or for that matter ANY hotel in Bunbury was another story!