10 phone calls, 12 representatives and 6 hours later...I'm done. A simple request today has turned into a total nightmare. If I've learned anything from the multifamily industry, it's the importance and value of great customer service. When you tell someone you'll call them back, call them back. When you offer someone something, honor it. If it's time sensitive, treat it that way.
Let's back up a week shall we.
My family and I enjoy going to Round-Up Lake, formerly Jellystone, a local campground during the summer. They offer a family atmosphere and we've always had a good experience. Last weekend, we took the first trip of the year. Upon arrival, I was shuffled down the counter to get a parking pass (Red flag #1).
The man behind the counter asked some basic questions and inquired whether I'd been there before. After going into how much we love the property, he advised that they were undergoing some exciting changes and there would be a meeting the next day to go over the future of Round-Up Lake. Just for going, we received a voucher for $100 to use toward future stays at the property. (Red flag #2).
The next day, I went to the front desk to inquire about the location of the meeting discussed at check-in. All of the representatives looked bewildered and couldn't tell me exactly where it would be, but I was able to get 'the building that looks like it's under construction' out of one of them (Red flag #3).
My fiance took the kids over to the lake to play so I told him I would just go check it out. Upon arrival to the 'building that looked like it was under construction', I was greeted with what looked like an empty car dealership filled with tables (Red flag #4). The man who spoke with me was sitting with two other women and gestured for me to come in. I was greeted with 'will your husband be joining us?'. To which I replied no, he's at the lake with the kids. Surprised, he said, "to receive the credit, we require husband and wife be here together" (Red flag #5). I called my fiance and had him drag the kids away from the lake to meet me.
Shortly after I placed the call, the man we were supposed to meet with apologized that he had overbooked and he was going to have me meet with another member of the staff. At this point, I really didn't care, I wanted to get it over with so the kids could go back and play.
Enter, (we'll call him), Ted. He tried to strike up local conversation to earn our trust, a failing attempt due to his recent relocation he mentioned later on. He acted interested in us, but after we politely declined, the tone turned several degrees colder. I asked him if he had a business card to which he replied "We're not even supposed to be open until next weekend, I don't even have my cards yet" followed by a chuckle. So, I did what any interested prospect would do, handed him my card and asked him to follow up with me.
The meeting ended promptly after that, he added his name to the invitation we had received and said we would just need to present it for credit.
During the entire meeting, there was a maintenance man walking around hanging pictures of campgrounds all around the US (Red flag #292).
Today, I called to book a reservation for Memorial Day Weekend. The booking agent asked me to fax the form we received from Ted, but when she received it, it was the wrong form. Surprised? Well that wasn't even the half of it. I was placed on hold for 20 minutes at a time, told by several I would receive a call back in just a few minutes which turned into spans of 2 hours or more. Each time I would call back, I would have to explain the situation from beginning to end.
Finally, 3 hours in, I asked to be transferred directly to the property. The representative was apologetic and quick to give me Ted's cell phone number. I called and, low and behold, voicemail. I asked him to please call the home office to verify our meeting from this past Saturday and left my number.
Another hour passed and no one followed up so I called again. This time, the person who was originally handling my calls had left for the day. I would thank her for calling me to let me know someone else would be handling the request, but she didn't do that. They again transferred me to the property and the man who had originally given me Ted's phone number was extremely apologetic. He expressed that Ted had just sent a text message to him several minutes ago so I should try again.
I tried again, voicemail again. I then did the only logical thing, called back the main line only to again placed on hold for 20 minutes followed by a rushed "I'm sorry there is nothing we can do until we hear back from the person you met with" and the sound of the line disconnecting.
I called back again, now 5 hours in, requested to speak to the on-site staff yet again and was greeted by a new apologetic staff member. This time, she offered to walk the 50 feet to 'the building that looks like it's under construction' and speak with Ted herself. Not hopeful, I again agreed to a call back.
About 20 minutes later, she did call me back, but it was bad news yet again. Ted was in a meeting, but he was in shortly before I called the first time and let her know he would be back later.
Why Ted, do you have time to text the staff, stop in the office, but not take 2 seconds out of your day to verify our meeting one week ago? I expressed my dissatisfaction to the only staff member that made the effort to go to him for verification and ended the nightmare with two words "I'm done".
I sat in the meeting, asked for a follow up because we were sincerely interested in what they had to offer and received nothing but a headache in return. This lackluster customer service and member only mentality is going to ruin what used to be a fun family vacation close to home.
If you see the Ideal Private Resorts logo on any campground staff member, I highly suggest you walk away. It's just not worth it.
~Your Dissatisfied Customer
After speaking with *****, I was not convinced that everything would run smoothly from then on. During our conversation, *****said he would have the credit applied to our account and asked me to call him when we decided to book so he could take care of everything. Ah, the wonder of words. So many forget that it's the follow through that matters. Also, I don't wish to hear excuses or "I'm not trying to make excuses, but (insert string of excuses..."I don't think ***even had his computer up and running" "The cell service isn't great in that area" "We're on a shoe string budget")
Here's how I see it, never allow your employees to conduct business without the proper tools to do the job. I should have never even been approached for that presentation before its scheduled start date. Take the initiative if you're able to follow through. Nothing less.
Thursday, I received a call from a family member because they wanted to book the weekend. I expressed my concern for both the blatant lack of customer service we experienced the week before and the disastrous weather that was predicted for the weekend, but was ultimately overruled and forced to call to attempt to book Friday and Saturday night. Although ***** advised me to call his cell phone, it was already going on 7pm so I wanted to extend some courtesy and simply call the customer service line. After all, he did advise me that the credit would be applied. To my dismay, the credit had not yet been applied to our account and *****had already left for the day. Again, agitated by the lack of follow through, I agreed to call back on Friday.
Friday, I called to speak with *****who was unavailable so I left a message. I knew better than to expect a timely response however so I called back just to be sure he was in. The representative was quick to locate him. Now you'd think after the lengthy discussion we had the week before, he would have recalled at least the major details of my situation. Well, not really. At one point, he actually said "let me look into this for you, we're just looking to get the cancellation credit back on your account correct?" To which, after recovering from my jaw dropping shock, I replied "no, don't you remember the conversation we had about the complete disregard for customer service and the 6 brutal hours I spent trying to book a weekend with a credit I was supposed to receive for sitting through the IPR presentation with ***?". At that point he placed me on hold, came back with a tone of confusion in his voice and advised me that he would need to have the manager call me back to straighten everything out within the hour. I reluctantly agreed as long as it was within the hour. The lack of accountability and competency your staff displays is astounding.
Two minutes before the hour was up, I received a call from Cheryl. Cheryl is perhaps your most valuable employee. She is quick to respond, goes the extra mile and reads the situation well. After going over everything with her again, she offered to have reservations call me back to book, because (surprise surprise) she was unable to complete the reservation from her computer system because it's not set up properly. I expressed my discontent and she quickly said, "I can do it for you now as long as you don't mind holding for a few minutes". I agreed. After several minutes of hold time, Cheryl checked on me numerous times, they gave me a total of $91 for two nights on a primitive site. I mentioned the JUNE special (BOGO half off) and was told that I was incorrect, it was buy 2 get 1 half off. Cue Patrick. Not sure who he is, but he was also quick to respond offering Fire and Ice for the inconveniences I had experienced to this point and agreed that I was incorrect about the June special.
I'm not incorrect about the JUNE special in case you were wondering. I called back and the representative quickly honored my request so at least she was aware of the promotion.
The weekend went on without a hitch (probably because we avoided the office at all costs). The rotting wood and shower heads caked with lime scale so thick it impedes their ability to work properly are a nice touch, but hey, at least the bathrooms by the lake were open this time. Curious as to why the lake hasn't been dredged yet though. Wasn't the season opening Memorial Day weekend? I'm sure by this time last year, the lake was definitely cleared of the vegetative growth and the kids were playing on the inflatable climbing accessories.
A few gems in a sea of coal...
In addition to Cheryl & Patrick - Kyle, the attendant by the gate, is an excellent team member. He is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Butch, a maintenance technician, was also friendly, helpful and knowledgeable as was the lifeguard at the pool on Saturday 6/2 (didn't catch her name).
The rest, well...yikes. This is the place we love to hate. Round Up Lake has potential and we love it, but the staff we've encountered over the past month has been little more than horrific.
The other salesman from Round Up even had the audacity to follow up with me on Friday with "Did I meet with you at your campsite last weekend?". Why are you following up with a question about where we met? Shouldn't you remember that you didn't even meet with me, ***did?!? To which I replied, "no and after the ordeal we went through, I can't believe you are even calling me". Surprising, he had NO idea what I was talking about so I asked him to have my initial e-mail forwarded to him.
On a somewhat related note, maybe your sales staff could benefit from some fresh training on user experience because they all sound like washed up car salesmen.
On top of everything, I tried to reply to the e-mail I was sent only to find out they had blocked my e-mail address. Bear in mind, I simply sent the review above. Nothing that would warrant being blocked from a response.