Many market analysts have addressed the question of what the quality of services will look like after the most intensive period of COVID-19’s lockdowns. Most experts have concluded that the quality will increase significantly, as after a long break, everyone is aware that the customer who spends money is highly valuable. Well, if we consider that after the release of the vaccine, the most intense virus period and restrictions actually ended around April-May this year, then half a year later, we can say that the experts were completely wrong. The average standard of services has generally declined significantly because market researchers ignored the human factor.
Of course, we take advantage of that too
I travel a lot, either with my colleagues or my loved ones. In a month, one person from our small team will turn up in roughly three countries. At the company level, we cover an average of 8-9 countries during our travels over a thirty-day period, so we have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in the services business, or just in services related to product sales. It’s shocking to experience how the horrors and effects of COVID-19 are being used by many to have to work less or to do shoddy work. And that’s the excuse you can’t react negatively to, because you’re supposed to be human. It is completely messed up, the often seemingly incomprehensible rules and the mass of regulations they enact to ensure that the customer gets less service, but most of all, less service for their money. I will also give a specific example to make the statement fully understandable. I’ve been to several hotels where they don’t automatically clean the rooms because of the pandemic, as they can’t just enter anyone’s room since that person might just be afraid of contact. But they will clean if you ask them, at least the first time. Then, within a day or two, one notices that one has to move mountains to get any kind of cleaning at all. This is because the cleaning company – because a separate company undertakes the task, it is not done by the hotel’s own staff in many places – let’s say it cleans until 17:00 on some days, and I even visited a hotel where the service was only available until 14:00. It is for this reason that when one asks to be cleaned – because one knows they will be away for hours ¬– the receptionist fails to handle this difficult task. Of course, by the time the guest returns, it’s too late. And the answer: we don’t know what to do, it’s the job of the cleaning company. But they already know what to do with the fact that in many places, they have kept their wellness services closed. Of course, the guest usually only becomes aware of it when they arrive. Because why would they have looked for it separately if the prices were even higher compared to the pre-pandemic period? But obviously, on arrival, you have to accept the fact as if it were the most natural thing possible. And before anyone responds that if one has such needs, go to a four- or five-star hotel, I’m talking about exactly that now!
Not just a cherrypicked example
Unfortunately, we can see this phenomenon in several major cities in Europe. London, Berlin, Rome, Amsterdam, just to name a few. Obviously, there are refreshing exceptions, but overall it can be said that the big cost savings started during the pandemic, and somehow they don’t really want to change that in those places. Somehow, many times, I feel like we’re sitting on the horse upside down. As if the customer was called to buy the product, and of course, pay more and shut up. Because it is our duty to bring in last year’s lost money to these businesses. In restaurants, too, prices crawled up 15-20% in a way that you almost didn’t notice. Of course, this “premium circle” wouldn’t even deal with it if it wasn’t accompanied by the often truly horrible and unqualified service. Because it’s the reason why an otherwise very solvent audience is starting to look at what they’re giving for so much money? I understand that it has been difficult for many businesses over the past year and a half, but don’t try to make up for that lag in a few months. What will be the end of the process? Simple! Guests, customers, the most solvent demand will start to ruthlessly select and completely forget about these underperforming businesses, who will, of course, say that they are the victims of the COVID-19 crisis. But they only fell into their own greedy trap and got stuck there.