Article by Giovanni Angelini
We have preached that “The Customer is Always Right” but is this correct? Or is better for us to “assume” it?
Hotels are often faced with customers who believe that by paying for the hotel rate, they have the right to disregard the basic etiquette and carry on/misbehave as they choose and will take advantage of business.
Unfortunately the percentage of hotel guests who participate in some forms of anti-social behavior and in some cases of vandalism is increasing.
Hotels are faced with hundreds of those cases. The most common can be classified as;
stealing items from the room (bath-rope, towels, pillows, glasses, cups, cloaks, cloth hungers, art works etc…). Also in the restaurants arguing over a reservation and assignment of seats, intentionally sending back the food after eating 2/3 of it and claiming that something is wrong with it and refusing to pay, cheating on the in-room mini-bar consumption, smoking in non-smoking areas, smoking in bed, creating arguments with employees and with other guests, loud voices, claiming food poison, arguing at check-out over the bill, trying to pay with fake money or stolen credit cards etc.. The list goes on and on…….
Then there are the ones who intentionally monitor the closed circuit cameras and when not seen will spill liquid/water in stair-cases and hallways then claim that they have slipped-fell down supported by their own photos and claim huge compensations. Clearly intentionally.
In most cases, experienced hotel managers and executives, recognize immediately the guests who create problems intentionally and will handle the situation in a diplomatic way making those guests realize their misbehavior and faults but there are times when serious arguments occurs requiring involvement of top management and in some cases by the authorities.
How many times we have heard the scripted words “I will never come back to your hotel again, you are lousy”…. And there are also times when the hotel management have to advices those guests that they are no longer welcome in the property and put them on a black list (make them available to the competition).
Dealing with tricky people requires special skills…..If you think the customer is not honest in his/her request or complaint, politely refuse with justification and if at all possible, offer alternatives. Accept that there is no ideal solution for every guest.
Then of course there are cases when customers honestly believe they are right as they may be making honest mistakes due to misunderstandings or confusion. Clarification and satisfaction is necessary in those cases. Employees must be trained to understand that saving a few dollars is not worth the loss of a good customer.