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Customer Service Recovery for Hotels

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Hi. I’m John Tschohl.

I’d like to talk about customer service recovery for hotels, so you can keep customers, avoid them going on to TripAdvisor and putting negative comments in, and create what I call an incredible word of mouth experience. In your hotel, regardless of how committed you are to incredible customer service, bad things happen. Sometimes the room is not ready as promised. Sometimes the food delivery was late. Sometimes there’s something wrong with the room. Maybe the reservation got lost. There’s hundreds and hundreds of things that can go wrong. I’m going to give you four tips that you can use in your service recovery strategy at your hotel to take a customer from hell to heaven in sixty seconds or less, because when you make a mistake, when your hotel makes a mistake, to lie, to run for cover, which is what most employees do, doesn’t work.

Number one, we gotta act quickly. Act quickly means everything I’m talking about has to happen in 60 seconds by the employee that interfaces with the customer. That means you don’t have the time to go up the chain of command, to send it to some other manager, some other department head. It has to happen by that employee.

Number two. You gotta take responsibility. This rarely happens. It’s all you want the employee to do is say, “Obviously, ma’am. We’ve really screwed up and it’s our fault.” “Sir I am so sorry the reservation didn’t work as scheduled. Obviously we made a mistake.” No. Nobody ever heard an employee ever say, “We screwed up and it’s our fault.” So you may have to take out more insurance to protect yourself when people die right on the spot because they’ve never heard anybody say, “Hey. We made a mistake.”

The third thing that you gotta do in customer service recovery for hotels is you gotta be empowered. That means that every single person has to be able to make a decision, spend your money on the spot to take care of the customer to the customer’s satisfaction.

Then the fourth thing is we gotta compensate. That means you’ve gotta give things away that have high value, low cost. “Sir, I am so sorry that breakfast took another thirty minutes longer than it should have. I am waving your meal.” “Sir I’m sorry that you had a problem with room service yesterday. Let me send a gift packet to your room for some wine and some fruit that you could enjoy while you’re here.” “I am so sorry that we had a problem with your reservation, sir. Would it be okay if I upgraded you to a suite tonight?” All of these things have high value, low cost. In a hotel there are probably twenty, thirty, fifty things that have tremendous value, low cost that your employees can give away when your company, your hotel, or they make a mistake.

The problem is, we tend to lie. We tend to run for cover. We don’t ever say it. We don’t want to spend any money. We’re talking about how do you take a guy that’s really upset, he’s mad, and flip it,so in sixty seconds he believes he is dealing with the greatest hotel he has ever stayed at in his entire life. Thank you


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