STEPS IN HANDLING GUEST COMPLAINTS
Listen without interruption
If the guest speaks too much without much relevance, never mind, listen from one ear and let it go out from the other. Don’t speak, let your eyes speak that you are listening to him. You should speak, only to ask questions, when you do not understand what the guest is saying. Whatever sensible things are being said by the guest must be taken to your mind and should be filed properly for later use; you can pen these down in your diary. Your complaining guest will be delighted and will become your friend forever. And if the guest says something, which is not good it should be taken to your stomach for digestion, sleep over it, if it is still not good, let it out. You will not go wrong.
Ask questions to clarify the problem
Don’t worry about asking seemingly stupid questions because they will help you to get informative, educative and intelligent answers. When you ask questions, many a times you will realize that the guest has made a mountain of a molehill or shifted a mountain for a dead rat.
Don’t get defensive
Don’t add fuel to the fire by disagreeing, arguing, fighting back and losing control of yourself. It may only compound the problem. Maintain your composure, stay calm and try to slow down the interaction. Be patient.
Use a ‘Sad but Glad’ Statement
“I am sorry there is a problem, but I am glad you are bringing it to our attention. That gives us an opportunity to help you.” Such simple statements serve several purposes. Try to use creativity and innovation. You will learn through trial and error. Use your head and heart. After handling 100 such complaints, you will acquire the needed skills.
Empathy is the ability to feel a situation by looking at it from the other person’s point of view. To use a familiar expression, empathy is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Empathy can be very important in complaints management, both in identifying the guest’s problem and in defusing emotions. Use your eyes to convey empathy.
Find out what the guest wants
And you may be in for surprises. Many a times he may want nothing! Sometimes, may be services equivalent to Rs. 100 or Rs. 1000, which you may consider worth giving as a gesture of goodwill. Never forget that many a time the customer talks for a “matter of principle / right”. The idea is to keep talking, keep discussing, keep thinking, and keep on doing everything that makes you reach and amicable settlement.
Explain what you can and cannot do
Sometimes frankness, which comes from the head and heart as well as eyes and voice, satisfies a dissatisfied guest forever. Do not try to show or project yourself bigger than what you are. Tell him what maximum has been done in other similar cases.
Discuss the alternatives fully
Logical. Is it not? But we don’t do it. Why? Because we do not think rationally, systematically, step wise, and so on. We think that a dissatisfied guest is a pain in the neck, is selfish, is illogical, is mean minded, and so on. A guest, like anyone else, can’t make and take decision easily. Once you give him the alternatives and educate him how to take decision and do not push him, he is likely to take an alternative solution to his complaint by which he will be happy and satisfied and bring more business to you.
This is it. Somehow or the other, we take it easy after the dissatisfied customer has gone and let the actions be taken by others who, in their own styles, take it easy. Speed of the boss is the speed of the team. Once you, as the boss slow down, others will slow down, others will slow down further. Action kills fear (of the customers); action kills laziness (of your employees); action shows results. Take visible actions (which can be seen by customers and employees). You can’t go wrong.
Follow up to ensure customer satisfaction
Listening to a customer’s complaint is ninety percent of the job; taking necessary action, is another seven percent and the balance three percent is following up with the customer to ensure satisfaction. You have spent 100 hours and also Rs. 10000 and the customer may still yet not be fully satisfied. May be the finesse or style or class or a shake hand or a sorry or a thank you or something similar but very important is missing. One should request for a satisfaction note from the guest. One can also ask for his advisory note or suggestion. Anything like these may satisfy his ego, which is equally important. Good