My sister, Susan, travels a lot. She’s the one that you know if you’re with her, you will be certain to have a germ free hotel stay. She disinfects the doorknobs, the bathroom facets, the toilet handle, and the TV remote. She holds the glasses up to the light to make sure they're clean and then washes them in hot water. She disinfects the toilet and wipes off the bathroom counters. She also checks for bedbugs, rips the bedspreads off the beds and pulls back the sheets to make sure they’re clean. She’s every hotel manager’s nightmare!
During a recent stay in Maryland with her, she went through her routine. When she got to the sheets, she found a brown stain on the sheets. It wasn’t chocolate. The toilet in the bathroom wasn’t clean either. She immediately marched down to the manger and lodged a complaint. She isn’t nasty, just very pleasantly forceful. She explained the situation and let them know what her expectations were. We soon had a new room and a very apologetic front desk manager. We also had an abundance of free samples of shampoo and soap in our bathroom after that.
So how do you handle a guest’s complaint if you’re a manager or desk clerk at the front desk? First of all, you listen attentively to the guest’s complaint. Make eye contact and maintain a serious facial expression. This shows that you are listening and taking the complaint seriously.
Apologize sincerely and assess the complaint. If this is a legitimate complaint that impacts the guest stay, give it your immediate attention. Consider the guest’s complaint and figure out which category it goes in: housekeeping, maintenance, and amenity or if it’s a service issue. Decide which is the best course of action to take to solve the issue and make the guest happy. If need be, go with the guest to see what the complaint is about. Always remain polite and calm when dealing with the guest. Apprise the guest of which course of action you are taking. If the problem is the maid service in the room, as in our case, you could offer another room or even an upgrade to make the guest happy.
Make sure you contact the staff member that the complaint affects. After checking the room that the complaint is in, contact the staff member responsible for the complaint. As in our complaint, the manger checked the room after we vacated it and had the maid service change the sheets and clean the bathroom again.
Presenting the guest with extra amenities, services or even an additional night’s stay is also an option to keep your guest happy. In our case, the maid was extra diligent in cleaning our room and added extra shampoo, towels, and soap. The pillows were fluffed and the beds were made wrinkle free. We did leave a tip each day which she thanked us for. We figured everyone has an off day and we just happened to hit one. The hotel handled it very efficiently and made us happy. And that is what staying at a hotel is all about.
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