The Guest Whisperer: How to Help an Angry Guest

In the hotel industry, a proactive approach is always the best course of action. It’s preferable to head off any potential issues in advance, as this will help to ensure a positive guest experience right off the bat. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans will sometimes go awry, and seasoned professionals will find themselves in the unenviable position of dealing with an angry guest.

Considering the competitive nature of the industry, this is bound to happen, even to the best in the field. Luckily, those with the proper training can come out of the situation unscathed—sometimes even turning it to their advantage. Here’s how.

Put Those Listening Skills to Good Use

An irate customer may not be the best at communicating, but pay close attention to what she’s saying nonetheless. This will help to facilitate a clear and agreeable approach to the issue.

Don’t Belabor Points

Even if the problem was caused largely through the customer’s own fault, it will do no good to point this out to him. Instead, allow him to vent his frustration before taking the floor.

Develop a Thick Skin

The customer’s anger is usually not with the person they’re talking to but with the specific circumstance that initiated the negative response. Remember this even if voices are raised and tempers are running high.

Maintain a Calm Demeanor

It’s the customer service specialist’s job to keep a calm and professional demeanor. It won’t help matters if both parties become aggravated—this will only escalate tension.

Attempt to Fix the Problem

If there’s an immediate solution, then by all means, make it happen. If the situation is beyond the employee’s power to fix, then she should immediately alert the next-highest person on the ladder, and so on, until the situation is resolved.

Don’t Go Overboard

While placating the customer is a must, a sense of fairness has to be retained. For example, it makes no sense to offer a voucher for a free night’s stay simply because the room didn’t have a satisfactory supply of clean washcloths available. Make the compensation commensurate with the complaint.

Follow Up

Reach out to the guest a day or so later, just to ascertain that the situation was resolved. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and be more likely to speak well of the experience.

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