Friday, November 23, 2007

The $1800 Video...

Think that being a "Citizen Marketer" doesn't really work? Is one person really More Powerful Than Microsoft?

Well, I took a video that saved my parents $1800.

It's not so much what happens in the video, it's what happened because of the video.


My mom had made arrangements to host dinner prior to my brother's wedding at a hotel in St. Paul, MN. Despite some requests, she hadn't received a final cost estimate for any fees payable to the hotel (the catering and wait staff were externally arranged)

So, it's Friday morning (dinner is Friday night) and my mom finds out that the fee would be $3000 for the room alone (more than the cost of the food and service staff) because of "union rules" or something like that.

As my mom says in the video, "I feel like you have me over a barrel."

Citizen Marketing...

And once upon a time, that would be the case. The discussion, in the back of the sales and catering office, would have ended up with my mom caving because she really had NO leverage whatsoever.

Not anymore.

As I said to my mom (she thought the video approach was a bit controversial), all I did was "level the playing field."

If the hotel folks wanted to say, "too bad," or "my hands are tied," (2.50 into it) that's fine.

Today, though there's a measure of accountability. You can't pretend later that it didn't happen. You can't expect that the story won't be told. And you can't expect that you can treat customers however you want and that no one will know about it because the conversation took place in a backroom.

As an employee, you are always accountable for your actions on behalf of the company. It's a tough, paradigm shift, but it is the new reality.

On a side note, I happen to think that the employee was trying to do the right thing and listened very well, but didn't feel empowered by her organization to do so, which is a whole different problem. She wasn't rude or offensive, she was just holding up the "party line," when someone else probably gave the order to do so.

Bottom Line

Hilton agreed to lower the fee to $1200.

Video Notes:

Most of the video is my mom talking (0:22 through 2.50). It only gets interesting when the rep says (3.30) that "if I am going to be on film, then there's nothing more to say" [which sort of proves the point of the post, IMHO).

Updated: after thinking it over, I've decided to remove the video. I have no animus towards the particular employee and feel that it's just not worth embarrassing her to further make the point.

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