Unsolved issues with (Royal) AMbassador service over long time

Old Mar 21, 13, 4:23 am
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Unsolved issues with (Royal) AMbassador service over long time

I've been a member either RA or Ambassador for years.

There are several things that don't change and that I have never understood.

1. The time it takes for them to send membership renewal boxes.

2. The number of renewal boxes that just never arrive. Some never seem to have a problem others seem to. And the excuses over the years .... the "fulfilment house issue" lasted for two years.

3. The amount of time it takes for ICHG and in particular the Ambassador department to answer emails - if they answer them - and when they do how little of it they seem to actually read meaning that an email exchange can take months. They seem to have a machine that simply picks up key words and slaps a few standard paragraphs in a return email and then you have to try and find new ways of re-phrasing the same question over and over again.

In the original days of posting letters in London, I am told that it was possible to send a letter and receive a reply the same day. E-mailing ICHG seems to be something out of the Stone age.

Does ICHG have any idea how much more business they would do if they simply had an adequate system ... and then .... a good system?

Am I the only one that is terminally frustrated?

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Old Mar 21, 13, 4:54 am
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
I've been a member either RA or Ambassador for years.

There are several things that don't change and that I have never understood.

1. The time it takes for them to send membership renewal boxes.

2. The number of renewal boxes that just never arrive. Some never seem to have a problem others seem to. And the excuses over the years .... the "fulfilment house issue" lasted for two years.

3. The amount of time it takes for ICHG and in particular the Ambassador department to answer emails - if they answer them - and when they do how little of it they seem to actually read meaning that an email exchange can take months. They seem to have a machine that simply picks up key words and slaps a few standard paragraphs in a return email and then you have to try and find new ways of re-phrasing the same question over and over again.

In the original days of posting letters in London, I am told that it was possible to send a letter and receive a reply the same day. E-mailing ICHG seems to be something out of the Stone age.

Does ICHG have any idea how much more business they would do if they simply had an adequate system ... and then .... a good system?

Am I the only one that is terminally frustrated?

I have NEVER received my RA renewal kit the normal way over the past 4 years I have been an RA. It always took months and several tries before one was sent by FedEx as an "exception".

I have stopped bothering trying to contact or email, things are slow, explain the issue to several agents and rarely received a helpful response. Lately had no need for help as my last stay in an IHG property was august last year.

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Old Mar 21, 13, 5:19 am
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Is someone in IC stealing the boxes and selling the contents on ebay?

Why is it that they can see there is an issue on several fronts but over all these years made no apparent attempt whatsover to resolve these issues?
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Old Mar 21, 13, 6:17 am
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
I've been a member either RA or Ambassador for years.

There are several things that don't change and that I have never understood.

1. The time it takes for them to send membership renewal boxes.
Indeed


Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
2. The number of renewal boxes that just never arrive. Some never seem to have a problem others seem to. And the excuses over the years .... the "fulfilment house issue" lasted for two years.
The last two years, the first renewal box never arrived.
I had to call the Ambassador line and ask for an express parcel service with signature to make sure to get it.


Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
3. The amount of time it takes for ICHG and in particular the Ambassador department to answer emails - if they answer them - and when they do how little of it they seem to actually read meaning that an email exchange can take months. They seem to have a machine that simply picks up key words and slaps a few standard paragraphs in a return email and then you have to try and find new ways of re-phrasing the same question over and over again.

In the original days of posting letters in London, I am told that it was possible to send a letter and receive a reply the same day. E-mailing ICHG seems to be something out of the Stone age.
I generally receive emails answers from the Ambassador service generally 2 days after having sent the message, which is not so bad considering the number of guests (and always receive an answer).

I am less impressed by answers sent directly from hotels, which can take much more time.

Every time I need a quick answer, I make a call.
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Old Mar 21, 13, 7:00 am
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Originally Posted by nicolas75 View Post
I am less impressed by answers sent directly from hotels, which can take much more time.

Every time I need a quick answer, I make a call.
I'm thinking not about things that need a quick answer but need to be documented .....

There are several hotels I visit regularly and they are wonderful hotels front of desk/house. The behind desk services are sometimes awful. The problem is that as I get older, I simply like details confirmed in emails. Too many times things I thought had been clearly agreed unravel. Misunderstandings, a lack of making proper notes at hotels. Hence I prefer all discussions to be by email then I know that any suprises will be minimised.

Some hotels .... every visit .... it takes toing and froing. You ask a series of questions. All get ignored. They simply produce a higher rate than you can actually see online. No names .......
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Old Mar 21, 13, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
I'm thinking not about things that need a quick answer but need to be documented .....

There are several hotels I visit regularly and they are wonderful hotels front of desk/house. The behind desk services are sometimes awful. The problem is that as I get older, I simply like details confirmed in emails. Too many times things I thought had been clearly agreed unravel. Misunderstandings, a lack of making proper notes at hotels. Hence I prefer all discussions to be by email then I know that any suprises will be minimised.

Some hotels .... every visit .... it takes toing and froing. You ask a series of questions. All get ignored. They simply produce a higher rate than you can actually see online. No names .......
(...) I stay 130-140 nights a year at IHG hotels (30-40 stays) and I can't remember the last time there was any variation in my booked details and the actual, unless they have further upgraded me at check-in. Occasionally I've experienced missed points accrual but e-mails have been responded to within 48 hours and compensation (ie extra points) given when it happened twice in a row.

Last edited by FLYGVA; May 26, 13 at 9:08 am Reason: edited off topic out of post
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Old Mar 22, 13, 3:19 am
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[QUOTE=Wan1dap;20458973(...) I stay 130-140 nights a year at IHG hotels (30-40 stays) and I can't remember the last time there was any variation in my booked details and the actual, unless they have further upgraded me at check-in. Occasionally I've experienced missed points accrual but e-mails have been responded to within 48 hours and compensation (ie extra points) given when it happened twice in a row.[/QUOTE]


You've lost me completely I'm afraid except to say you are saying that you have no need to contact the hotel but when you have it was fine? The mirrors were all fine - no problems at all. Thanks for asking.


Last edited by FLYGVA; May 26, 13 at 9:09 am Reason: quoewd post was edited
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Old Mar 23, 13, 12:05 pm
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I have taken the libery to edit the title to give more detailed informatzion what this thread is about - and I also deleted a few off topic and personal posts.

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Old Mar 23, 13, 12:57 pm
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I wish I understood why they invite you to renew Ambassador early ie two months before expiry but then not send the renewal box.

After two ignored emails I today heard from them. Not bad - only took three weeks for them to tell me they can't answer my question.

They are looking into it. But I get the impression that their position is that they only send the kit after the start of the new membership year and then tell you to wait a further 6 to 8 weeks for it. Why do they think it reasonable to request people to renew and then wait up to 4 months for the box from the date they received your cash? What is wrong with just sending it ....
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Old Mar 23, 13, 5:46 pm
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Specific for me. 2 Bogos used last 12 months. Neither posted as a single qualifying night. 2 denials via email, then called.... Taken care of on the call....a qualified person that understood. 4 nights IC sfo, corp rate 300 ish per, no points told highly discounted therefore no points, this was via 2 emails.... Called, person immediately said this was a qualifying rate and should have automatically appeared.

I hope those are specific enough, the whole points system seems to be hassle, but I need them for personal use! Chasing points is frustrating, getting unqualified people on the phone or at the other end of emails is worse.

I don't know UK1, but expect it is issues like that are frustrating. RA benefits seem to vary a great deal and you have to research each hotel to see about benefits, upgrades ect. Other programs seem more straight forward. I like my IC's in Asia, and san francisco, but mixed at many other locals

For reference 70 nights in hilton last year, not a single missed point or missed night tracked....

That's just my experience!!
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Old Mar 24, 13, 6:06 am
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A friendly reminder to stay on topic ... and to avoid personal discussions. I have had again to delete a few posts due to off topic and personal content

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Old Mar 24, 13, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by shawntobi View Post
I don't know UK1, but expect it is issues like that are frustrating.
Exactly.

My motive in starting the thread was simple. I'm hoping (optimism against common sense and experience ) that someone in IC might actually read this stuff.

For those that have around long enough either as Ambassador or RA there is an overwhelming level of circumstantial evidence that there is either a significant issue with central CS that management are either incompetent to deal with or are not bothered to.

There is an email contact issue (ie quality, responsiveness etc) and an issue with renewal kits being sent. It is difficult not to conclude (as there hasn't been any remedial action over the years) that they are purposefully not sending boxes until chased in a perplexing percentage of cases. It is greater than isolated incidents. And we had the long-term palaver a year or two back about the fulfilment house excuses. It is simply a matter of printing off labels and letters and sending out packs. Not rocket science.

They can't control how individual hotels respond to emailsao easily - fair enough - it's clear that hotels don't like receiving them as contact details aren't so easy to find - but they can control how they deal with customers directly. They don't appear to be that bothered. That is my main point.

And as you say, the other point is that both the Ambassador and RA programmes are inherently excellent if IC ensured that hotels didn't abuse the offer by (for example) creating ghost room classes to defeat the programme and cheat customers - and other cunning plans to cheat them out of the spirit of the programme. They don't seem that bothered centrally when informed. The problem is that we forget that IC sees the hotels as customers as well and they don't want to upset them.

The wider issue is that through this lack of involvement and care, ICHG are converting a group of hard won customers that were genuinely loyal and cared into defectors. Seems daft.

Last edited by uk1; Mar 24, 13 at 7:37 am
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Old Mar 24, 13, 11:58 am
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
Exactly.
The wider issue is that through this lack of involvement and care, ICHG are converting a group of hard won customers that were genuinely loyal and cared into defectors. Seems daft.
Not just at IHG.

There seems to be a lack of empowerment to actually serve customers at a lower level and I have gotten stock responses from agents that that are either given from laziness or training designed to deny, dismiss, or dishearten.

Corporations have a hard time with real service and training people to distinguish between customers, so it seems they take an attitude that does insult enthusiasts for their products. Because these corporations at the top have no way to measure beyond a bunch of figures and the bottom line, they are actually making their programs into a true liability. Not because the points are on the books, but because it takes otherwise happy customers and turns them bitter over small change.

We've personally seen this with groupon deals. Some businesses get mad or let down on a groupon deal. You can see it in their faces. Yes, groupons may be a discounted deal, but the purpose is to give them the opportunity to win you over! Don't blow it! Make the investment pay off.

I like Skechers. They make good casual shoes. I bought them well before they had a customer club. I had a purchase that didn't post. No big deal. $20. Called. Emailed. Emailed. Called. Sent in copy of the receipt. They asked me to wait 10 business days. 10 days and counting and nothing. Why have the club if you aren't going to operate it correctly? I had a very positive image turn negative over such a small thing.
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Old Mar 24, 13, 12:20 pm
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I agree.

There are a few organisations and brands that sometimes surprise - and EXCEED expectations - and perhaps there should be a web site that lauds them. OT I know - but relevant to exceptional customer service as an example to ICHG - the accelorator on my Merc went a couple of weeks back. A free phone call from the car had it trailored to a Merc garage within an hour and a brand new hire car - a Merc S - delivered to my house to complete a short break. I kept it for a week to complete the break even though the car was repaired within a day. The recovery and replacement hire car a free part of Mobi ie service your car at a Merc garage for it's life and it's free. Just pay for the repair. I hate Merc servicing costs but having that service for broken cars for up to 30 years has made it difficult to change brands. I don't think many customes know of it. I was unaware of this included free service until a previous brakes issue. They even repaired the car for free because they concluded that the car shouldn't have failed. I reckon these two situations cost Merc around £4k and have locked me in.

The cost of ICHG avoiding dissapointment seems so easy by comparison and many RAs spend as much on staying in hotels as they do on cars .....

Last edited by uk1; Mar 24, 13 at 12:26 pm
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Old Mar 24, 13, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by nicolas75 View Post
Indeed






Every time I need a quick answer, I make a call.
Voila . Just call them ...95% of the time it can be dealt with on the spot
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