19 Oct, 2011 @ 15:24
2 mins read

Fairplay for great customer service

ONE of the things that bugs me a great deal is poor customer service. When I lived in England British Telecom (BT) always provided terrible service. I was absolutely amazed when I was told that NTL (now Virgin Media) were worse. I didn’t think that it was possible. I don’t know whether either of these businesses have improved. What I can say is that Movistar (Telefonica) is probably worse now at providing customer service than BT were ten years ago.

All too often from the attitude I get from the staff when I walk into some golf courses or hotels I feel that they think they are doing me a favour rather than providing me a service as a paying customer. So it is good to be able to praise a business for great customer service rather than complain.

Over the last year or so I have made three visits to the Fairplay Golf and Spa Hotel at Benalup, Casas Viejas. The resort is a 5- star all-inclusive venue south of Cadiz with a good (not fantastic) design golf course. During the three visits there has been the odd mishap but generally the service has been first class. When there was a mistake made the staff were apologetic and went out of the way to rectify the situation (e.g. offered us an extra free lunch when we complained that one of our evening restaurant bookings had been overlooked and we had to eat in a different restaurant from the one we expected).

Every member of staff at the resort seems to always have a smile on their face and is willing to help you. They go out of the way to provide great service. The good service starts even before you arrive at the resort. The people who manage bookings and provide support to customer and potential customers are polite and attentive on the phone and on email.

Here are two specific examples:

1. There were eight of us staying at the resort recently and we were going to play a board game based on the TV show Mr & Mrs. When I got to the resort I found that the game did not have enough score sheets where people had to write their answers. I went to reception with two few remaining sheets and asked if they could photo copy them for me (the sheets to an A4 piece of paper).

The person on reception said no problem. Then asked us whereabouts in the hotel we were going to play the game and whether we planned to play straight away or after dinner. When I explained that we were having dinner first the receptionist said no problem. We will set everything up for you. When we went to the library after dinner a table for eight had been set up, with score sheets trimmed to the correct size and place on the table ready for us to use.

2. When we arrived home my wife Jacqui found that she had left a pair of trousers in the room. We sent an email to the hotel and within a very short period of time they emailed us back to say they had found the trousers. They then just asked us for the address where we wanted them posted and said they will arrive shortly. It is only a couple of days since this email exchange and the trousers have just arrived.

These are just two of many occasions when I have been impressed by the staff at the Fairplay resort. This is why we have returned so often and why I would recommend anyone consider a golf holiday to consider the Fairplay resort.

If you are thinking of booking I would recommend you check the weather charts for the area as I think the weather might be a bit iffy during the winter period. Also, I would recommend booking through one of the big UK based golf holiday companies (e.g. Your Golf Travel or Premier Iberian) to get the best deals. The price is not cheap but the offer includes very good quality food and drink. The only things you will have to pay for as extras is golf buggies/trolleys and any spa treatments you fancy (if I remember rightly non-golfers get 30 euros a day discount off spa treatments).


  1. Are you the advertising director for this Golf Course, John?

    Seriously, I agree with you about Telefónica/Movistar – and Sevillana Endesa and Repsol and a whole host of other companies and organisations staffed by civil servants – customer service is dreadful.

    Nowever, since I find that dealing with local companies and bodies face-to-face brings a better response, I wonder if it’s just the big companies that you have to deal with via a call centre that don’t give a toss!

  2. Sadly, I am not getting paid for mentioning the place.

    I just feel that I am living in an age (or perhaps a country?) where there is no real focus on customer service and quality from a lot companies both small and large.

    So perhaps things are as Bill Wellington has written. It is not often now that I receive excellent service from any business.

    I feel that provision of good service and quality products is something that has to be driven from the top of the business and can´t be built from the bottom up. The growth of Mercadona is a good example of this can work.

  3. I was mentioning this the other day to my brother, how in Spain customer service is most of the times a disaster. Mobile phone companies are repeatedly abusive and useless, they drive you up the wall with their call centres.

    More and more I feel like Spain wants to pay less for everything they consume, every service, even if it means that basic things such as a smile, or a polite tone, get tossed out of the picture.

    I hear of brands such as Primark expanding through Spain and the thought alone makes me shudder… but that’s another story ;)

    Liked reading this, will recommend it to my golf-loving father.

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