While it’s never thrilling to receive complaints from guests, you can use them to your advantage to help improve your hotel operations. If you aren’t quite sure how a guest complaint should be handled, we’ve provided some tips to help you out:

Dealing with negative feedback
Normally, an initial reaction to negative feedback is to be defensive, but this should be avoided. Instead, try to learn the source of the problem by tactfully asking some questions. Remember to empathize with the guest and be understanding. The least you can do is apologize and explain any improvements that have been made if necessary.

Online reviews
This principle also applies to online reviews. Your response to an online review not only affects the guest who posted the review, but can also influence the decision of travelers who are reading that review. Ignoring your online reviews, whether they are good or bad, can give the impression you don’t care. Even worse, being defensive suggests you’re denying any problem exists, which can make the situation worse.

Respond in a timely manner to online reviews to show that you do appreciate feedback. To make the process easier, you can set up a Google Alert on your establishment so you know when someone is talking about your business online.

Handling negative feedback appropriately will reflect well on you, demonstrating your professionalism. For those with complaints, try and have the reviewer call you to discuss the matter on the phone rather than online. This way you can receive all of the details relating to the matter without sharing the discussion with the World Wide Web.

Empower your team
Provide your team with the necessary skills and authority to handle complaints. Encourage and train them on how to ask for feedback and respond when the feedback is negative. This is great for guests because your staff can handle things immediately rather than having to call in a manager for help. Be sure to make it clear to your staff just how much authority they have when it comes to resolving issues, such as providing guest compensation.

Keep an eye on your team, observing how they handle negative comments, and then provide them with feedback, such as praise or guidance if more help is needed.

The LEAF list
You can use the LEAF checklist as a guideline to handling negative feedback from guests:

Listen: Listen and respond to the guest, showing that you understand what they are saying.
Empathize: Apologize and show that you understand they’re disappointed, but remember to not take it personally. Don’t become defensive – customers don’t want to hear excuses. Even if the problem wasn’t your fault, let the guest know that you are working on a solution.

Action: Ask guests what they believe is an appropriate solution, and offer alternatives so they have a sense of control over the situation. Rather than telling your customer why something went wrong, tell them what you’re doing to make it better.

Follow up: Ensure that the guest is satisfied with the outcome. Learn from the feedback and keep en eye out for similar issues and discuss them with your team so that you can prevent future problems from occurring.

If handled appropriately, complaints from guests can be turned from a negative to a positive. Source1 Purchasing works to keep you informed on the latest trends in the hospitality industry to keep your operations running smoothly. To learn more about the benefits of theSource1 Program and what we can do for you, visit our website at www.Source1Purchasing.com.

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