I am in Columbia Missouri this week for an exciting occasion. My daughter is graduating from The University of Missouri (I’m one proud father). Anyway, the trip necessitated a stay in a local hotel. Having visited her numerous times, we knew what the area had to offer, and opted to try a brand new Hilton Garden Inn that had just opened on the outskirts of town.
By today’s road warrior travel standards, it was pretty nice. Free Internet, breakfast, coffee in the room, soap, shampoo, an alarm clock. But the alarm clock is where it got oddly strange. At about 10:30 PM, when my wife and I were ready to turn in, I looked at the alarm clock and it said 5:20AM. So I looked at the clock for the “set time” function and could not find it. So I called my daughter over, the new college graduate (figuring she would be pretty smart) and she could not figure it out either. It was easy to set the alarm, but there did not seem to be a way to set the time. In frustration, I called the front desk.
I simply said, “could you tell me how to set the time on the alarm clock in my room?” His response was, “you can’t, it is sealed for your protection.” He told me he would be happy to come up with the tools required to reset the time if I wanted or, he could arrange for a wake-up call. I told him that this was pretty ridiculous. I think he somewhat agreed, and had grown tired of telling clients that they could not set their own alarm clocks.
What am I being protected from? My guess is the hotel is hoping no one will steal an alarm clock they can’t set (although the time has to be off in order for someone to figure that out, so a thief probably would not realize this until after they had stolen it and taken it home). Sometimes we do things in business that are designed to serve our own best interest (not the customer’s) and then try to disguise it with some lame explanation that does nothing but frustrate a user or consumer even more. Put as much control in the hands of the customer as you can (especially when it comes to setting their own alarm clock).