Dissatisfied hotel guests are unfortunately a fact of hotel life. While the course content covered in a Diploma of Hotel Management will touch upon dealing with hotel guests, handling angry customers in a real-life situation can be quite a challenge.
Here are is some rules to follow when faced with angry hotel guests:
A Guest Has the Right to Complain
Although hotel staff do not make mistakes on purpose, they do happen. A guest may get angry for several reasons.
For instance, a guest may feel betrayed because the hotel did not meet their expectations or because they had improper expectations.
In such situations, one should listen to what your hotel guests have to say without showing emotion. Pay attention to what specific topics the hotel guest emphasises on. This will help in identifying the specific item or items which need to be addressed.
Keep Calm in the Face of Anger
Always keep in mind that anger is not directed at an individual even if it might seem so. It is important to stay calm and be patient when the hotel guest is at the peak of their emotions expressing anger, sorrow or distress. The complaining guest should not be interrupted. Eventually, their emotional intensity will reduce, which is an opportune time to talk to the guests with reassuring comments.
If a hotel guest is loud and abusive, they should be spoken to softly and with a very steady tone.
Trying to shout over or interrupt an angry guest will result in a verbal battle where the message gets lost in a bid to get attention. Instead, the important points should be repeated, making sure that the primary concerns of the hotel guest are addressed.
This is an important skill Diploma in Hotel Management graduates should acquire as they progress through their career.
Taking Ownership of the Problem
After listening carefully to the hotel guests repeat the issues that have been expressed, these should be restated using a soft and firm voice. The guests should be asked to confirm that the complaint has been restated accurately. These should then be written down.
Irrespective of whoever created the problem, the individual who the guest has complained to, should take ownership. The hotel guest should be reassured by the staff member that they will own the problem and will make an effort to resolve it.
Sometimes it may be tempting to distance oneself from the problem by stating that the concerned staff member is not responsible. It’s vitally important never fall for the temptation.
Give Priority to the Hotel Guest
With most hotel complaints there are two conflicting issues that occur. The first is the customer’s emotional distress and the other is the technical or administrative issue that caused the emotional distress.
It is important to address the customer’s frustration first, before looking into the technical issue. Look at what went wrong and connect the issue to the root cause of the problem.
To determine what went wrong correct the issue for the specific hotel guest. It may not be feasible to give them a guarantee that fixing the specific issue will resolve all problems but it may be appropriate to reassure the hotel guest that they will get immediate attention should problems occur again.
After sufficient time has elapsed, hotel staff should check in with the guest to determine if the corrective action has been effective.
This can be done via a phone call or a personalised postcard which demonstrates individual attention and sends a powerful message to show that the hotel staff do care about the individual hotel guests.
How one responds will determine whether the hotel guest goes on to sing the merits of the hotel or do the opposite. It’s an important lesson for Diploma in Hotel Management students to remember, as it can help them manage a difficult situation with practised ease.