Hotel industry is all about service and hospitality. Quite often, it is presumed that as long as the guests aren’t complaining, they are satisfied. This, however, is a highly misconceived notion. A research shows that only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers actually raise their opinion. The rest agitate. And 91% of those unhappy guests, who do not complain about the issues they experience, simply leave. It is a rather regrettable situation for hotels, as another study suggests that acquiring a new guest is 5 to 25 times costlier than retaining an existing one.
It is also distressing to know that these non-complaining guests go out and complain elsewhere, about 10 to 25 friends, on an average. They also take it to social media for venting out, which causes larger damage to the reputation of your hotel.
One thing to notice here-we should not think that absence of feedback is a sign of contentment. It is crucial that you, as an hotelier, try to understand why the guests do not want to share their concerns. Mentioned here are key reasons why guests choose to not raise their voice.
Most often than not, the customers are not interested in putting in the efforts. The whole process of complaining – going all the way to front desk, waiting in a queue to speak to the receptionist, then another long wait to speak to the manager, then maybe finally getting the problem fixed – is tedious and tiring that the customer just decides to walk away (and write a nasty review on social media).
Other avenues such as calling a customer service helpline can be equally time consuming due to ever-lasting IVR, then getting stuck on hold for long. It is too much of work for most of the guests that they decide to not to say anything instead.
Many guests assume that their issues won’t be fixed, even if they complain. This mindset could be because they have probably burnt their hands before. Take a simple example; you have booked a room at a hotel. On arriving you find that the room has a view of another building right next to yours. You go down at the reception and ask them to change your room, but they tell you that they are fully booked and have no spare room to shift you to. End of discussion.
Having faced similar situations before, many guests presume there is no point in pointing out an issue to the hotel staff, when you are not going to get a satisfactory resolution.
There are many guests who are so shy that they do not want to create a scene. Despite knowing their rights as a hotel guest and despite knowing that the issue they have is suppose to be fixed by the hotel, people often choose to stay quiet because that is the most painless and least bothering option to resolve their problem. However, this resolution, at times, leads them to your competitors instead.
Not all hotels have staff that is forthcoming and courteous. If a customer has been ill-treated by hotel staff or management, they are afraid to repeat a similar incidence at another property.
It is imperative that a hotel management and its customer representatives fathom the reasons for guests not complaining. Only if you know the underlying problem, would you be able to work on it to provide enhanced services and experience to your hotel guests.
You should thank your guests for complaining to you. Those who do not complain, simply just walk away and never come back. A guest enunciating a negative experience is a good thing, as long as they are telling you personally and not announcing it on Twitter. Any kind of feedback should be welcomed, as it gives the hotel management and its staff an insight as to where are they going wrong, in terms of service and operation.
Accepting criticism from the guests allows you to see things from their perspective and look for a room for improvement. It facilitates you to resolve your guests’ issues while they are still with you, thereby turning their negative experience into positive, and retaining their loyalty as well.
With the statistics suggesting only one unsatisfied guest out of 26 actually raises the concern, it means a lot lesser guests are satisfied than what we’d like to think. And these unsatisfied guests, most likely, go to your competitors. As we have already discussed the reasons why most customers prefer not to complain, let us try to figure how you can encourage your guests to give you a feedback so that you can strive to make their experience worthwhile.
Be a little extra proactive when interacting with your guests. For example, while handing over the rooms keys at the reception counter, instead of saying a casual ‘Hope you have a lovely stay with us’, make it a point that they believe what you say. Let your guests know that the staff is available to listen to their concerns and issues and help them resolve the same the best they can.
A little change in approach can go a long way. Empathize with your guests and make them feel they are the most important element in your property, because they actually are.
One of the reasons most guests do not complain about their issues is because they think their concerns or issues would not be resolved. Most guests assume that the front desk employees do not have the authorization to handle guest issues. And it is true to a certain extent. Many employees sitting on front desk job are unable to take decisions due to the fear of losing their jobs, and refer to company policy to get away from the situation, even if it doesn’t apply.
Therefore, it is imperative to empower your staff to satisfy their guests, come what may. Many leading hotels have authorized their staff with certain cash amount to keep their guests happy and contented. When your employees have an authority to make a decision and they show it often, the guests do take a note and feel more confident in approaching the staff should an issue occur.
Many guests do not come forward with their complaints because they think it is too much of a hassle. It is always easier to just leave and go to another one of the thousand hotels out there. With most customers taking their phones everywhere they go, and holidays included, a mobile guest engagement comes handy for the guests to connect with the staff at any time, at any place.
A guest who would otherwise avoid confrontation, using mobile guest engagement, he can voice his issues and concerns with minimal disturbance. Besides, they can connect with the hotel staff without waiting for long for the manager or even when they are outside the property. The best part of using this technology is that it allows the hotel to own up to the issue and have it fixed before the guest leaves, turning a negative impression into a positive one.
When your guests come forth to complain, they are doing you a favor. They help you learn from your mistakes and make your hotel more welcoming in times to come.
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