|Money May Not Be the Motivator You Think It Is|
|By Laurie Barkman | June 13 2013 (0 Comments)|
Recently a friend shared a story with me about an unsatisfactory hotel stay he and his wife experienced. There was no one big bad thing that happened. Instead it was a string of small disappointments during their stay that left an overall negative impression. When he shared his disappointments at check-out, the front desk agent checking him out applied a $50 dollar credit to his account. My friend took the credit, but has no intention of ever returning to that hotel.
What was the problem here? While the money was nice, he did not feel his complaints had been taken seriously. What my friend wanted more than anything else was a sincere apology and acknowledgement that errors had been made.
Resolving customer complaints and wowing the customer in the process may involve a discount, but doesn't have to. I know a hotel manager who authorized his team members to rebate unhappy customers up to $150 dollars without needing approval from him. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea, right? Empowering employees to resolve a customer complaint on their own is a good idea, but employees need to recognize that throwing money at the customer may not result in the return visit they are hoping for. Plus, when the go-to solution to resolve a customer complaint is cash back, your profits go down.
What can you do instead? First of all, reinforce the importance of customer service with your team members. This is not about lessening the importance of service recovery; it's about recognizing that money is not always the solution.
Customers want to know that their unhappiness is taken seriously. Teach your employees to listen carefully to the customer and to ask questions that get to the root of the problem. Teach them how to empathize with the customer. Ask your employees to think of times when they were dissatisfied and remember what that felt like. Teach them to sincerely apologize, with the key word being sincerely. Insincerity will only escalate an already negative situation.
Then, with your team, come up with some ideas, outside of cash, that may resolve the situation. If a customer finds a hair in the bathtub, an upgraded room (double-checked for spotlessness) may be the answer. If the customer's steak was not cooked correctly, will a free dessert or drink turn the negative into a positive? Yes, there is a cost associated with a free dessert, but it is less than a free meal.
Instead of giving your employees blanket cash-back authorization, teach them how to listen, empathize and apologize. Sometimes, if those three things are done well, their job with respect to service recovery is done. Other times, more will have to be done so work together to come up with creative solutions to wow the customer. If all else fails, the cash back can be applied, but that should be the last resort, instead of the first.
For more information on creating positive customer service experiences, visit www.servicedge.ca/.
|Categories: news | tourism industry initiatives|
|Tags: Laurie | Barkman|
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