Back in August I posted about a targeted offer I received in the mail offering instant Hilton HHonors Gold status and the opportunity to earn bonus points and airline miles after completing five stays. The mailer included a new Gold card and account number with additional verbiage, “If you’re already a HHonors member, please contact Hilton Reservations and Customer Care so your account can be updated to qualify for this offer.”
As a Gold already, that’s exactly what I did. It took two phone calls as the first agent seemed overwhelmed in trying to find the offer code and after more than 30 minutes, the line “mysteriously” disconnected. The second agent was far more proficient, merged the accounts and assured me this promotion was active on my existing account. Here’s the promotion info:
- Instant Gold through March 2013
- Complete five stays between July 1 and October 31, 2011 to earn 25,000 HHonors points and 5,000 airline miles
- Activate by October 31, 2011
Additional information necessary for this promo failure turned success:
- The letter was dated June 27, 2011 and mailed USPS Standard mail (the cheapest bulk method).
- I received it on July 29, 2011
- I called that night and merged the accounts as mentioned above
- The letter did not state registration was required before a qualifying stay (and believe me, I read the fine print thoroughly)
I completed my fifth stay October 10th and expected the bonus points to hit immediately as Hilton’s system seems to do in my experience. Nothing, so Wednesday night I called and spoke with agent April who after researching and speaking with “upper management” (a call center supervisor), came back to say, “you didn’t register until July 29th, so your earlier July stays don’t qualify.”
I explained the USPS Standard mail delay and the fact the letter nowhere mentions registration was required before the first stay. She responded, “Sir, we’re not responsible for the mail and you don’t qualify. We can’t override the system.” It’s pointless to try to rebut with the rationality of the situation, so I thanked her and hung up.
Instead of doing the “call back and try another agent” frequent flyer tried & true method, I decided to test social media outreach. Here, then, was my tweet after that failed phone call:
Surprisingly that late at night, a mere 15 minutes later Hilton responded:
I had gone to bed by then, so Thursday morning I DM’d my account number and brief explanation and within moments:
Not 20 minutes later my phone rang and I spoke with representative Jonathan. I never supplied my phone number on Twitter, but he was swift enough to get it from my account. After a brief conversation bringing him up to speed on the above, I emailed him the promotion letter in question.
After about an hour, Jonathan called me back, apologized, mentioned the 25,000 points have been added to my account and the 5,000 airline miles will be processed. He further asked if there was anything else he could do for me. Now THAT is excellent customer service. I thanked him for the expeditiousness of the outreach and quick resolution and wished him a pleasant day. I later tweeted:
I am highly impressed with Hilton’s social media responsiveness and my issue was resolved with incredible ease via that medium. Call center agents are always hit or miss no matter the industry and I always cringe when needing to call one. Their necessity will likely never go away, but I’m happy technology has advanced to the point we can sometimes bypass the irritatingly inconsistent call center experience.
Well done Hilton HHonors!
(Hmm… did my blog have anything to do with it?)