Your most unhappy guests are your greatest source of learning, opines Bill Gates – although there are, to be fair, other, equally great, sources.
Because the thing is, the customers you want will (hopefully) beat a path to your business door, so the wisest precaution is to skill up for dealing with a complaint that is bound to arrive one day, furiously wagging its tail and leaping about like an excited puppy.
There are a few things you can do to mitigate a customer’s ire:
- Hide under the desk until the irate customer storms off – this particular approach is frowned upon, not least because it is the wrong tack to take
- Accept responsibility, own the problem – you may, or, indeed, may not, be blameworthy, but give the customer someone – you – to talk to
- Listen. Showing empathy to the customer’s situation is vitally important.
“I’m sorry about that, there should indeed have been someone at front desk to deal with your query, how can I help?”
- Stay composed, be positive and think of our business
- The customer is always right. (Except when they’re wrong. Which is never. Mostly). But the key here is to engage in positive conversation, with an emphasis on the solution, which is what the customer actually cares about…
“I understand you are unhappy with your current accommodation, but I can’t give you your preferred room as it is unavailable until tomorrow” versus “Your preferred room will become available tomorrow, we will happily transfer as soon as it becomes available.”
- Earn wings – what I mean is, thank your customer for sharing with you their complaint or concern and ensure that the conversation with your customer is complete.
“I’m happy to have been of service, can I assist you in any other way today?”.
- You care about getting it right
- You will persist in getting it right
- Let your customer decide what ‘right’ is
- Dust settles – you don’t. In the worlds of customer service and hospitality management, the weather is replete with cloudbursts of online reviews. Follow through on your successful resolution, speak with the customer and see that they are happy, and if there is anything else you can help them with, ensuring your guest leaves your lodging satisfied.
There is nothing fast or easy about customer care, but learning your customer service craft can be pretty painless.
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