Difficult customers trigger service quality

Return­ing from a relax­ing wellness-weekend in Aus­tria I am still won­der­ing about the com­plaints of the hotel owner (aged about 40) this morn­ing dur­ing break­fast: “In ear­li­er days our guests were a lot more easy going. No com­plaints about din­ners, the kind of music played at cer­e­mo­ni­al occa­sions, etc. Nowa­days most of them dis­like this and that, want to change the menues and do not return for hol­i­days if they object­ed to the small­est things.”

Re-phrasing those ‘object­ing guests’ as dif­fer­ent tar­get groups in search of their indi­vid­ual ben­e­fits I asked her whether that could be seen as an oppor­tu­ni­ty (as we learned in mar­ket­ing class). She shook her head and replied sadly: “No, you won’t please every­body.” And then she changed the topic.

I mean — this is sad real­i­ty: Mar­ket­ing tells us to trans­late a com­plaint into a pos­i­tive cus­tomer com­mu­ni­ca­tion and peo­ple at the PoS don’t get it. They do not r‑e-a-l-i-z‑e their cus­tomer’s cry for help: “Please, Ms Hotel Boss, please change this small­est aspect of my per­son­al per­cep­tion of your ser­vice and I’ll be sat­is­fied.”

Yeah — I know — that is the­o­ry. In daily oper­a­tions we have to force our­selves to meta-think in this way — to con­vert anger into sat­is­fac­tion. But — give it a try. Ask your­self every day if you per­haps missed a chance of retain­ing a cus­tomer.

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