Key Steps to Managing Guest Complaints
Whether a guest is at the front desk, on the telephone or on Facebook, there is a common approach to managing complaints effectively. When a guest is upset, you want to calm them down, get them thinking clearly and rationally, and turn their perceptions of you and your hotel from negative to positive.
For best results, follow these steps:
· Listen carefully to the feedback. Don’t interrupt, even if you have an immediate solution. Often people need to vent and will be calmer and more reasonable once they have done so.
· Ask questions to ensure that you fully understand the problem.
· Show empathy by putting yourself in the guest’s shoes. How would you feel if this happened to you? Traveling can be tiring and stressful, and hotels can be intimidating and confusing. Say, “I understand, and I’m here to help.”
· Offer an apology. Simply saying “I’m sorry” can do wonders to calm a guest down. Even if your hotel isn’t directly at fault, you can express regret that the guest is disappointed or upset. If appropriate, provide a brief explanation - but no excuses.
· Offer options. Rather than impose a solution that might not work for the guest, work together to find a solution. Offer a few options and ask the guest which they prefer.
· Follow up. Once you agree on a solution, explain how you will follow up. Follow through on your promises, bring the matter to the attention of staff and management, and make a note on the guest’s profile. Later, follow up to make sure the guest is satisfied with the outcome
Types of Guest Feedback Channels
For hotels, there are three main types of guest feedback channels: in person, on the telephone and electronic. Each channel requires a different approach, using three types of communication.
Guest Feedback Channels
IN PERSON : Visual, Vocal & Verbal Communication, Appearance, Voice & Words
ON PHONE : Vocal & Verbal Communication ,Voice & Words
ELECTRONIC : Verbal Communication, Words
When responding to feedback on any channel, it’s important to be aware of triggers. Triggers, or negative communication cues, are things an employee does or says to anger, irritate or frustrate the guest, thereby escalating a situation from bad to worse.
As an employee, you have triggers too. Guests can say things to make you frustrated or upset. It’s important to be aware of your triggers and to work hard to remain calm, courteous and professional. Positive communication cues have the opposite effect of triggers. They are the things you do and say that calm guests down and get them thinking rationally. Positive communication cues convey to guests that their concerns are being heard and taken seriously and that you are trying to help them.