Part Two of our Dear John Letter to the Four Seasons


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Posted on 27. Feb, 2012 by in Blog, Blog

As promised in my previous blog post, below is my update on my experience with the Austin Four Seasons.

Following my blog post outlining my interaction with the Four Seasons, I reached out to Four Seasons locally via their Twitter handle, @FSAustin, to start a conversation around my recent experience.  Shortly after, the brand responded to my tweet with:@imwolfman Thanks for reaching out. Christine, our Dir. of Reservations, would love to speak w/ you. Pls call her directly at 512-685-8049.

Nerd alert: this got my adrenaline pumping — 1. Because they actually responded through a social media channel and 2. Because I was going to get to speak with an actual person to see if we could discuss the relationship and not just the transaction.

But let’s back it up and quickly revisit where my current reservation stood. My executive assistant called the Austin Four Seasons late January to rectify this situation, but was only able to get me on the waiting list. No personal communication with me to explain the situation or communicate directly with me on whether they place any level of importance on our relationship. This left me feeling like just another transaction for the Four Seasons. So, you can see why I was feeling slightly optimistic and even excited to place this call – maybe they did care about me!

Christine and my executive assistant drudged out the facts of what happened on both sides and tried to come to some sort of a conclusion (or common ground) as to how this mishap occurred. Christine was undoubtedly concerned with the matter and expressed that she wanted to do everything she could to help make this right.

Could it be that this brand was exhibiting some of the Relationship Era principles? Let’s see…

  • Credibility? Check. And they are the Four Seasons and almost always deliver on their word.
  • Care? I’ll give them a half check. After all, they didn’t want to speak to me directly until I shared my story with the blogosphere.
  • Congruence? We’ll leave this one blank. They never concretely mentioned values or what they stand for. They did do a nice job of handling it like a customer service problem once it was surfaced, but how much more powerful would it have been to deal with the situation through a lens of exposed values? “At the Four Seasons, we believe in dealing with others as we would have them deal with us, which is why I’m calling you today to work through this misunderstanding.”

You might be asking what they could have done differently. First, the transaction was being handled by my executive assistant, but the relationship is primarily with me. So what? So, insist on speaking with me to ensure the relationship is sustained. That would have added to the trust I place with the brand versus detracting from it. And having this conversation might have helped me better understand the values that the Four Seasons espouses. As a result, I felt like their primary focus was to merely solve a problem and avoid being mis-characterized, or to avoid getting a “raw deal” write-up.

Have a different perspective on this? Would love to connect. Reach me on Twitter @imwolfman.

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