Disgruntled client? Ignore at your peril | Travel Research Online


Disgruntled client? Ignore at your peril

Wouldn’t it be nice if owning a business came with a foolproof owner’s manual?  Just imagine being able to turn to “chapter 5” when something went awry and the manual would tell you exactly how to get back on track. Well, wake up, no such manual exists; however, I can give you a single, two-word, tip that might prevent 99% of the mistakes you might make. 

Follow Up!

We are all agents, and we are all consumers. We know that things will not go as planned 100% of the time. As I have said before, we almost expect mediocrity! Personally, I rarely look for any kind of remuneration or reimbursement—I simply want my issue to be acknowledged and followed up upon so it hopefully does not happen to someone else.

Recently, I was a repeat guest at a property. The room was fine. The amenities were fine. The food was fine. The property, in general, was fine. So what was the problem? Their service. They stumbled providing their service—but more specifically, their lack of response to my concerns.

I am not a demanding traveler. I look for a safe and clean room; and not too much else. When I arrived I swung by the lobby bar for a soda. The bartender was taking some sort of inventory and never acknowledged me. I asked if she could help me and she looked irritated. And when I said I wanted a soda, the irritation escalated with a sigh, and the slamming down of a pen she was carrying. She put the soda in front of me and walked away. I asked about signing for it to charge it to my room and was told that “it was too much of a hassle.” Wow, not only did she tick me off; but the also is doing her part to make sure the resort owner loses money.

My first night, I was to attend a welcoming event that was supposed to have some light appetizers and cocktails. The food and drinks never made it.  In fact, even after the organizer went to find out where they were…still nothing. We did not starve to death, but we ultimately went without.

While walking past the front desk, the general manager asked about my stay. I took the time to tell him of my experiences and he thanked me for letting me know.

And did nothing–I think.  There was no follow up with me.

Well, I am not sure he did nothing, but nothing was done as far as I could see.  But, the bartender who could not be bothered to ring up a sale was still on duty; and so was her attitude at the end of my stay. I stopped by on my way out and it was the same situation. She was occupied with some housekeeping duties and made it obvious that I was an intrusion on her work. I ultimately told her to never mind and went without.

So, here we are–a formerly happy repeat client double thinking his decision just because of a poor customer service experience that appears to have gone uncorrected. As I said, I am not a demanding traveler. I was not looking for dollars off. I was not looking for a free soda. I was simply looking for affirmation that my opinion mattered. But I got nothing.

I am hoping that this was an anomaly. I know that there are plenty of times where I have fallen short of clients’ expectations, and I realize that and try to make sure to never repeat. I have yet to hear from management yet I have heard from others who hd similar experiences.

Today, it takes so little to appease a disgruntled client. As you navigate through your own travel business, you are bound to have people call you with both praise and criticism. You need to take the good with the bad and the sweet with the sour. When someone comes to you with an issue (real or perceived) simply acknowledge it—that is likely all it will take to appease him or her.  If not, have a discussion and find out what it will take—and if reasonable, work with your other travel partners to make it happen.


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