Is Your Room Service Up to Scratch? - Servicing People with Disabilities
By Ellen L. Shackelford President, Connections Access Consulting Services, LLC (CACS) | November 01, 2010
When service is an added feature of any venue, patrons expect the advertised services to be available upon request. Once a situation arises, it is expected a rather quick solution will follow. Guests at hotels and motels trust a quality service from employees while they enjoy the comforts therein.
My articles continue to give live situations which adds credibility to the contribution. Sharing these situations with readers may begin to shed some light on how to approach issues with an open mind. Being a person with a disability who has experienced various types of issues resulting from inadequate room service, may bring some insight to how good service can go a long way in customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat business.
When people travel away from home, it is their hope to be as comfortable as possible and when needed be able to receive the best service the hotel can offer. Sometimes it is necessary to go beyond the usual by servicing individual unique needs. Everyone has something they will request during their stay, whether it is a forgotten item, such as, a toiletry item, grooming kit, etc., but sometimes it could be something over-looked in the room initially. Room service is just as it states; if you need something, we will service you to the best of our ability. It doesn't mean once a request has been addressed it stops there, instead it should go far and beyond the call of duty.
Customer service is an essential element of room service; it is what gets counted at the end of a stay and added on the comment cards left in the room on the desk. It's good business practice to assure the service guests receive is exceptional. When people with disabilities travel, it is difficult enough finding a venue which is accommodating and accessible, but when a hotel is located and the individual accepts the accommodations they also want to be assured their service will be what was promised. After the visit to the front desk, the next step is to arrive at a room which was assigned, hoping all the amenities are satisfactory.
When the bellman carries the luggage to the room assigned, they are usually waiting for a tip for the deed they have just done. Once the task has been satisfied by both parties, the next thing asked is, (sometimes) if there is anything you need, please do not hesitate to ask, this is usually the drill you get once it's all said and done. Before a question or a request is asked, the person is out the door awaiting the next guest to assist with baggage. The service should begin at the arrival of the room.
In my travels, I've found difficulties with getting service once my room was assigned and my belongings were in it. I use a wheelchair for mobility and have difficulties reaching for things located on high shelves, or bending for things on the floor. In this particular hotel, I asked the bellman if he could assist me with something before he left the room, but his response was, "I will have housekeeping assist you." It was unclear why he could not help me with what was needed at the time. After the response, my first thought was he was the person who delivers the bags to the room. When he told me to ask if there was anything I needed, it was obviously for the front desk to accomplish. Now I'm wondering if the entire staff has been trained on how to assist patrons with disabilities with accommodations? The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is an eighteen year old civil rights law people still don't acknowledge. It's amazing how people don't understand the simplest things others take for granted are huge issues for people with disabilities.