As I pointed out in my “Pros and Cons” series of hotel loyalty programs (you can access them all here and IHG Rewards Club specific article here), the customer service (or lack thereof) is not the high point of the IHG Rewards Club, as it is farmed out to the Philippines.
A LoyaltyLobby reader forwarded me a maddening email exchange that the person has had with IHG Rewards Club to get some first quarter promo points to post.
IHG Rewards Club released a number of Stay More Earn More-promotions on January 7 that have now all been extended to May 31, 2013. You can read more about these promotions here and this specific promotion here.
One of the promotions is offering 2500 bonus points after 2 nights and additional 2500 bonus points after 2 more nights for maximum of 5000 bonus points after 4 nights. This promotion also had an online booking bonus of 1000 bonus points per stay that are booked on IHG’s website.
1,000 bonus points will be awarded for each qualifying stay, at InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® hotels worldwide when stay is booked through an IHG brand or mobile site between 7th January 2013 and 31st May 2013 (standard booking terms and conditions apply at each participating hotel). Unlimited bonus points can be earned during this promotion.
The reader made the bookings on IHG’s websites and received the 2500 bonus points after 2 nights and the additional 2500 bonus points after 4, but the online booking bonuses were missing.
You would think that fixing a small issue like this, when the terms and conditions are still listed on IHG’s own website (you can read them here), would be a simple task? Wrong.
Getting the missing 4000 bonus points posted required not only one, not only two, not even three, not even four, but FIVE emails, before the missing points were posted.
Here is a copy of the email correspondence:
The first email suggested that the reader should have booked a bonus points package rate. This has nothing to do with the promotion in question.
The second email requested the reader to include the promotional code for the promotion that he had signed up for. The reader had included the direct link to the promotions terms and conditions that I have above.
The customer service representative should have been able to have a look at the promotions that the member had signed up for. Wouldn’t you think that they have access to their own website?
On the third reply, they finally acknowledge that the 2500 promo points were posted. It still doesn’t address the question of the missing online booking bonus points.
The fourth reply is referring to the additional 1000 bonus points (?) after four nights during the promotional period. The terms and conditions are clear that you get 2500 bonus points after 2 nights and again after total of 4 nights. The person replying is definitely lacking reading comprehension skills.
The person replying to the fifth email didn’t really address the problem, but just issued the missing 4000 bonus points as a “goodwill”.
The state of the IHG Rewards Club “Service” Center is really sad. Based on my own experience with them, it is like banging your head against the wall trying to get something solved.
It is inevitable that something goes wrong sooner or later, but it is how these companies react to the feedback and requests that they receive from their customers.
Sending out form replies from a farmed out customer “care” center that has nothing to do with the questions asked, is very poor considering the long term customer satisfaction that is essential for any company’s survival in a competitive environment.