Dealing with irate guests is a part of every hotel manager’s job. A hotel guest may get agitated for a variety of reasons out of which some reasons may be truly justified, while others are not. As an hotelier, you are in the business of handling all kinds of customers- some may be calm in their demeanor to express their dissatisfaction whereas others may get agitated during the registration of the complaint. Even worse, they may complain elsewhere - on social media, creating bad brand reputation. So, handling irate customers in hotels can be quite a tricky job.
Hoteliers take note! Learn how to deal with irate guests
Guest complaints can often be looked at as a way to improve a hotel’s service if taken in the right spirit. Use these tips to cope with such situations where you’ll learn how to deal with irate customers and respond to them effectively.
Handling Guest Complaints in Hotels
Knowing how to manage irate customers requires a certain kind of expertise. Often, the frontdesk staff are the ones that bear the brunt of every unhappy customer. Hoteliers must make sure their team members are well-equipped to deal with every kind of complaint in a professional manner and learn how to respond to an irate customer.
Maintain your composure: Whether you are handling irate customers on phone or dealing with them in person, maintain your composure. It’s easier said than done - but hey, they’re your customers. A calm approach always puts the guest at ease. Reacting to a guest’s anger with an agitated approach will only ruin the hotel’s reputation. Maintain your own sense of calm and give time to bring down the agitation of the guest. Offer sympathy to get to the root of the cause and take the required action. It’s imperative to avoid taking each complaint on a personal level. A customer has every right to be displeased if the hotel service is not found satisfactory. The complaint is always against the service and not against the person dealing with the irate guests, although the frontdesk professional may be made to feel so due to an angry outburst.
Listen well, respond amicably: Your response to agitated guests, particularly guests within your hotel premises will be watched by many other onlookers. Always respond amicably and treat your guest well. Understand they want - empathy, apology.
Respond with an apology and pay attention to what your guest has to say. An apology will calm down an agitated guest and you’ll be able to address the problem well once you understand the issue. Use sentences such as, “I understand you have every right to feel angry…” or “I will escalate this issue immediately…” will provide reassurance to irate hotel guests. Listen to what they have to say and give them your complete attention. Avoid transferring the call if the complaint is via the telephone. There’s nothing worse than a call not getting transferred or the call being disconnected during the process of a call transfer.
Get the facts, find the solution: Wondering how to calm down an irate customer? Provide a solution immediately. However, knowing all the facts is vital before taking the decision. You must be impartial in your approach and understand what went wrong in your hotel’s service. Certain complaints may take longer to resolve. In such cases, you can offer complementary services or waive off certain charges and upgrade the customer till you get to know what went wrong. Customers often look for quick solutions and offering special incentives will help calm down the current situation. Always ensure you address the customer’s complaint right till the very end. This helps guests feel secure they will not be made to visit different departments to get their complaints resolved.
Respect your guests: Your guest may come from any corner of the world. Yet, that should not dictate how you respond to the guest complaint. Your behavior must be respectful regardless of the customer’s language, appearance or region. Every staff member must be educated to respect all guests equally.
Always have a positive attitude: It’s natural to feel a little annoyed when guests say offensive things that sets off the conversation on a wrong note. If how to handle an irate customer in person is one of your biggest concerns, then a positive attitude that reflects verbally and in your body language will help calm down the guest. Do not allow negative words to work as a trigger and demotivate you. You must always remind yourself – this is a challenge for me to do better, work on the problem and turn the situation in our favor. One of your job KRAs requires ensuring your guests enjoy their stay. Now, when there’s a reason to complain, you must use an optimistic attitude to solve the problem as soon as possible.
Follow-up consistently: Different guests have different kinds of complaints. While some problems can be resolved quickly, others require a check into details - much easier when you have the right hotel technology in your hands, instead of hunkering down to analyzing your ledgers, spreadsheets, etc. If yours is a hotel chain, the same customer might have used your hotel in another location at an earlier time - instant access to centralized guest history will cut down the analysis and resolution times by a great deal. Be regular in your follow-ups and keep a check on your team members. Ensure your team calls up the guest to show the hotel’s concern. So, even if getting to the main cause of the problem may take time, your guest will be reassured with the follow-ups and will know the solution will be provided soon. In case of unreasonable demands, involve a person with a higher authority from your team.
Seek feedback: Do not wait to seek feedback till the end of the guest’s stay. One of the most important things about guest satisfaction is the ability to keep a check on the guest during their stay. Questions such as “ Are you comfortable, how is your stay?”, “Is there anything you require? Did you enjoy the food?” will help gain quick feedback. If your customers respond negatively, you’d know the problem immediately and can rectify it during their stay. This also reduces the chances of negative guest reviews online in case of customers who are not too open with feedback and prefer to check-out and write details on review sites such as Tripadvisor. On the other hand, you must have the control to ask for positive reviews from guests you think are happier after you fixed their issues. Again, the right hotel management solution will help you have better control over online reviews.
Dealing with irate guests need not be feared by hoteliers. Using the tips above, it’s easy to improve the guest satisfaction and turn customers into loyal visitors. Always go the extra mile and request them to place their next hotel room request through you so that all requirements will be taken care of personally. This is one of the easiest ways to win back the trust of an irate hotel guest.
Have you come across an uncomfortable situation? What are the tricks you employed to deal with irate guests? We’d like to know in the comments section below.
Kashmira Lad is a Senior Content Marketer with Hotelogix. Kashmira holds over nine years of expertise in the field of design and content management. Kashmira’s worked for the leading newspaper brands in India and the IT industry. The company is a unique, cloud-based, end-to-end, hospitality technology solution, built to seamlessly manage hotels, resorts, serviced apartments or multi-location hotel chains, by providing a single window to manage all hotel operations and bookings (online and offline). Hotelogix is currently used by properties in 100+ countries.
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