How to handle complaints from the other side

By Jordan Knox
January 20, 2016
How to handle complaints from the other side

In the hospitality industry, above all else, it is the experience that is sold. Those experiences may come in the form of dining, hotel stays or retail purchases. Long after a meal is finished, the major takeaway is the experience.  Positive guest experiences are the number one driver of new business in the form of word-of-mouth traffic, but what happens when the experience does not meet the expectation?

Most people will have had a negative hospitality experience at one point, which is either because the experience level offered was too low or the expectation level anticipated was too high. There are many factors that can upset this balance, including the price of the product or service, timing, quality and other reasons that can be controlled by a business.  Many comments and complaints, however, come from an emotional base often referencing a special occasion, past experience or prior knowledge of an establishment.  Understanding the emotional state of a guest is a large part of working in hospitality-based industries.

Every customer has the right to their own opinion and experience, and those two things form a reality and the story that they will tell; a story that is not just told to friends and family, but to social media, blog posts and websites designed to rate businesses.  Although this story may not reflect the exact actions or events that have taken place, it is put out into the realm of social media for all to see and for businesses to respond to if they choose.

So why do successful businesses actively seek out comments and complaints and even provide incentives for feedback?  In the past, the reasons revolved around getting feedback to help shape the business, provide proper customer service and identify issues that needed to be resolved.  Although these reasons are no less important today, the motive that overshadows all others is social media reputation.

About the author:

Jordan Knox works at Northland Properties and is a General Manager in training at Moxie’s in Vancouver, B.C.  With over 18 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Jordan has worked throughout North America and the Caribbean with industry-leading companies. He received his diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management from SAIT Polytechnic in 2000 and is a lifelong student of the food and beverage industry, always looking for what new trends are emerging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *