Back in the spring of 2018, had a trip to San Antonio solo, my first time traveling on my own. It was a business trip, but I tried to add some personal touches as well with some sightseeing and places to eat. When I arrived at my hotel, I was pretty exhausted; my last flight had been a little bumpy, but luckily my check-in service experience was friendly and quick. I was ready to relax in my room with some takeout. Little did I know I was in for a long night.
I attempted to order in but ended up in a 2-hour run-around. Luckily, the front desk person who had checked me in had my back. After I had already canceled my order with the first restaurant, the delivery driver shows up an hour late and thinks I'm going to still take my food. When I didn't answer my door, he walks down to the front desk and has them call my room. Since I'd called the front desk earlier to ask about a delivery person, he knew I was pretty upset already and warned the guy. After I said I canceled my order, he told the guy sorry but no go.
The next day, that same front desk person happened to be working the night shift again and told me how he'd told that delivery person that he might pull the menus of their restaurant if the service didn't shape up. When the delivery person pleaded with him, he told him that they'd better let their management know that they need better service or they won't be promoted in that hotel any longer. I thanked him for his help and asked his advice for dinner that night. He gave me the "tourist" recommendation then the local favorite to try. I ended up trying both during my trip and they were great recommendations! Except for my snafu with the first night, my stay ended up being very pleasant. I made sure to leave a very nice review and specifically mentioned the front desk person who was so helpful to me. To my pleasant surprise, I received an email from the manager about a week after my stay thanking me for my feedback.
Jump back to September of 2017, I had a trip experience that was horrid, especially in comparison. We had multiple issues with different rooms (to include a LIVE cockroach) and never heard from the management even after waiting in our room then leaving our cell phone number so we could go sightseeing. Unfortunately, it was more work to switch hotels then stick it out one more day. It wasn't until I'd written a negative review a few days after getting home (yes, I was trying to give then a chance to make it right) that I received a short email from the management with an apology, but at that point, it fell on deaf ears.
Although both managers made an effort to communicate with their customer, can you guess which handled the situation better?
Two big takeaways I have for business owners and managers to make their customer service experiences better from my experiences:
Don't wait until it's too late to respond.
Even if the situation has already happened, address it as soon as possible somehow. Letting the customer know that you're aware of it as soon as you can lets them know that the person who said they would report it actually did, giving the customer a sense of trust and priority. Had the manager during our 2017 trip even left a handwritten note for us on our door, I feel like my feelings toward the whole situation would have been different. You don't have to have all the answers or complete resolution to give a response, just keep the lines of communication open.
Be thankful for feedback.
The only good thing about my negative experience was the manager said:
The best part about my positive experience was the manager said:
Think about it this way: why guess what you're doing right or wrong when you can have your customers tell you? You won't know the right answer until you ask and get a response. Negative Reviews don't have to be something you dread but use as a tool to make your business better. If someone took the time to give you feedback, the least you can do is say "thank you".
You can't make every customer happy, but you can glean a little from each experience to continue to grow a good reputation for your business. Just like I shared my customer service experiences with you, put yourself in your customers' shoes and you'll be a better business owner for it! Although this can be a time consuming task, it's always worth it in the end, and I'd be happy to help keep a positive light on your business!
Thoughts from Me
Tips, advice, and more from my experience as a copywriter, marketer, and small business owner.