Things happen and everyone makes mistakes. Perfection is practically unachievable, but hotels, airlines and other services have a common goal to make their guests and customers happy.
We now live in time whenever everyone is plugged in and social media sites dominate. That means customers are just a few clicks away from sharing an experience with their friends, family and followers. Sharing photos and praises can drive interest and loyalty instantly. In fact, International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) 2013 Opening Forum named Facebook as the ” most effective social media for luxury travel client engagement” over Twitter and other competing outlets.
On the other side of the coin, sharing complaints and issues can turn away possible future guests. However, I discourage the use of social media sites to air out grievances. Many problems can be fixed by visiting the lobby or checking with customer service. If something comes up, here is a great (and tested!) way to ease the issue without drama.
1. Weigh the issue. – Ask yourself if you have a valid complaint. The fact that ocean is too salty to enjoy your day at the beach may be something you should let slide. (Yes, that was an actual complaint I have heard.) However, linens that need replaced, damaged personal belongings or if your service is missing something that was promised in package, etc – go on to step 2.
2. Be friendly and pick up the phone or visit the service desk. – I cannot stress enough how important it is to be nice when lodging a complaint. Chances are, the person taking your complaint isn’t responsible for the issue. Even if they are, remember that we all make mistakes. If possible, make the case of your problem in person. I find that a smile while greeting someone in the flesh tends to get things done in a more positive manner.
3. Take the name and position of the person you lodged your complaint with and offer a solution. – For example, you have used/dirty linens on your bed. Call the front desk or housekeeping and let them know right away. State the issue and give a possible solution. “Hi, this Guest Joe in room 111. I hate to be bother, but our room’s linens are soiled. Maybe housekeeping hasn’t had a chance to get fresh linens on the beds yet. Could we be relocated to a room that is ready for us?” When you have agreed upon a solution, close by asking their name and their position with the company. “Thanks so much. What was your name? Ok, Susie Q, are you the Front Desk Clerk? Great! I look forward to being relocated to another room.” If you have the name of the person who offered you a solution, you will be need that if any further issues persist.
4. If your complaint persists, it might be time to kick up your proactive nature. If you didn’t go in person to try and resolve the issue – now is the time to do that if possible. Ask to speak with a manager or supervisor from the start. Messing around rehashing the issue with another person can be a hassle and there might be a further issue they aren’t aware of. Remember to continue with a kind and understanding nature. Inform the manager of your issue – “I spoke with Susie Q about an issue with soiled bed linens in my room. We agreed to switching me to another room, but that hasn’t worked out. I understand how busy you are and mistakes happen, but I’d really like a resolution as soon as possible.“
Sometimes some issues never find a happy resolution. In those rare and unfortunate situations it is fair to warn friends, family and your followers. However, keep in mind that most companies want to make you happy. You have rights as a consumer and should exercise them by finding the right outlets. If it is a serious issue, take it to a corporate level or involve the Better Business Bureau.
My best tip for complaints is to never demand anything. If you start requiring outlandish compensations to make you happy, you will just be that person who is just looking to get something for free.