Monday, 14 December 2020

Service does involve being serious about providing it

Hoisted by Houst

When Brian arrived on Friday, he tried to sort out a few issues with our apartment on Saturday, like he was able to connect on WiFi he was getting no Internet connection and getting a spare set of keys. Once again it showed why it is preferable to book hotels with apartments rather than AirBnB-type arrangements though this was presented on my Hotels.com portal where I have been a loyal member for 8 years.

Our apartment in a complex is managed by an agency called Houst that seemed to find ways to exhibit levels of intransigence and incompetence, this will not be the last word on the matter. Whilst they have garnered many 5-star reviews, the length of the 1-star reviews is well over half of the 5-star ones, with negligible reviews in between. This is indicative of probably an outfit that excels despite themselves and underperforms with deliberate urgency.

Brian’s call should have elicited a response email, a reference number and some idea as to when the Internet issue would be resolved, none of which happened. When I arrived late on Saturday, after attempting a call, we decided it all best dealt with on Monday.

Quick to the buck

Today, we began with the need for a second set of keys even splitting it into having just a key fob for the main gate and the entrance to the apartment block, to no avail. A hotel would easily have provided a second set of keys where there was more than one guest. It just pointed out the indolence of the agency.

On the Internet matter, I was having none of the nonsense about having not connected properly, this simple networking situation is my bread and butter, it has been for almost 30 years. As I suspected, I contacted the Internet Service Provider (ISP), the account for our apartment had been suspended for the non-payment of bills.

It might not have been the responsibility of the agency to pay that bill, but they should have taken on the responsibility of checking all advertised services were in working order before accepting guests. Nothing is as irksome as to find that you have been short-changed by unprofessional and inattentive outfits quick to the buck but slow at the muck, it just sucks.

Fixing it ourselves

At a point, I did consider paying the bill to get the service back pronto, though it would have taken 24 to 48 hours to restore the service and we were already in the 4th day of a month-long stay. Eventually, we decided on getting a MiFi dongle with oodles of gigabytes to play with and connect up to 16 devices. This immediately solved the Internet access problem, and if the apartment eventually gets the service restored, fine.

As we were going out, we saw the Building Manager’s office, but she was on the phone. On returning, I had a word with her, and she said I could have a key fob for a deposit to be returned on our departure. If Houst had bothered to Know Their Customer and the apartment they were letting, this information would have been present either for them to have spare key fobs or inform guests of that availability. My honest opinion is the service Houst provides or my experience leaves much to be desired.

At the end of 6 email exchanges where my views were clearly and forcefully expressed without losing my composure or courtesy, their last response was a boilerplate dereliction of service. “Thank you for your message. I will pass this on to the host and keep you updated.” I am not holding my breath on any improvement on their part. Never again is my consolation for any new booking and hopefully when we get our places and need to have them managed by an agency.

It is behind us and we can enjoy our holiday and time together without the frustration of dealing with atrocious customer service.

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