Conflict resolution is a must in any establishment. This basic skill should be taught to all customer-facing employees like valets, lobby attendants, concierge, and front desk staff in hotels. As travel becomes more accessible, customer demands increase.
It’s easy to report one negative interaction online for the whole world to see. This article will go through some of the basics on how to handle angry guests in the hotel with some tried-and-tested resolution practices.
Conflict Resolution Basics for Hotels: A Quick Guide
If you’re in the hotel and tourism industry, an unpleasant interaction may seem normal, and you may be tempted to treat it like it was any other day. But a simple negative experience can change a hotel’s reputation overnight. In this scenario, your enemy is the internet.
The share button in social media pages, along with tags, will reveal an establishment’s incompetence to the world—regardless if it was intentional or not. This brings us to the essence of conflict resolution: Learning how to handle angry guests in hotel is first brushing up on some crucial customer service basics.
3 Customer Service Skills That Help Ease Guest Frustration
Let’s go back to the basics with a few customer service practices. You may be familiar with some or most of these, but we need a reminder every once in a while.
You’ll be surprised to know that most hotel and tourism industry conflicts can be solved using one skill: listening. The ability to listen is a given, but active listening is a skill. Active listening differs from listening because you are actively processing the situation and information to come up with the best response and resolution for the customer.
Here are some of the steps to actively listen:
- Stay Focused – Zone everything and everyone else out and focuses on your customer. You can tell whether a guest is genuinely frustrated with a service or may need attention through focus. This way, you can identify their explicit and implicit needs.
- Do Not Interrupt – When we’re listening to criticism, we often think of a response while the person is still talking. Avoid this practice so you can identify your best approach after listening to the entire story. Being right is not the issue. The main goal is to keep the customer and prevent him from sharing negative experiences with other people.
- Summarize – Ensure your guest that you are listening by paraphrasing their concerns and summarizing the entire story. This way, they feel assured you are focused on their issue and that you’re merely available for them.
It is said that modern guests and customers are becoming more complex, making learning how to handle angry guests in hotels more challenging. We live in the information age, with easy access to receive and provide information, and customers can tell genuine concern from a formality.
That is why empathy is an important customer service trait for conflict resolution. Empathy differs from sympathy because sympathy is merely sharing someone’s feelings, while empathy identifies with someone else’s feelings. Identifying with someone else’s feelings involves a deep state of understanding, which often leads to a desire to make things better. Here are some practices to exhibit empathy towards your guest:
- Acknowledge How They Feel -In the hotel industry, it’s vital to acknowledge without shifting the blame to the hotel carelessly. We acknowledge the feeling but not the service in question until an investigation clarifies matters.
- Actively Listen – You can show active listening by using verbal and non-verbal nods to ensure you focus on their concern.
- Show a Desire to Make Things Better – You don’t have to have a solution ready. Offering willingness to help will make customers feel more comfortable around you and, in effect, start opening up more to you until you come up with a better solution.
Effective communication can transform any interaction in an instant. Whether it’s to solve an issue or sell an idea, the right words and gestures are game-changers. Since the entire communication process involves both listening and speaking, we’ll focus on the speaking end.
- Positive Positioning – Learning how to rephrase your words and avoid strong absolutes like no, never, and always, is crucial when trying to influence a decision.
- Use Open Non-Verbal Gestures – When dealing with guests, it is crucial to maintain open gestures, like leaning forward with arms on the side. Your legs and arms shouldn’t be crossed to avoid misunderstanding.
The 3-Step Conflict Resolution Process
Part of learning how to handle angry guests in the hotel is finally going through the conflict resolution process. Now that you’re equipped with the right basics, these are the steps to follow to manage any conflict:
Step 1 – Actively Listen
This step involves identifying a customer’s explicit and implicit needs to help you decide on the best resolution. At this point, you also use paraphrasing and summarizing to understand where the frustration is coming from.
Step 2 – Propose a Solution
Customers don’t like it when hoteliers say, “I don’t know.” It is our job, after all, to know what to do after getting the basics from listening to the customer, displaying empathy and genuine concern, giving the customer solutions, and including other possible alternatives.
Step 3 – Check for Customer Satisfaction
You want to be sure that the proposed solution fully satisfies the customer, so check with them and ask if their needs have been met. If your customer suggests a solution beyond your scope, check with management for alternatives until you get to an excellent compromise.
Knowing how to handle angry guests in the hotel only becomes easy if you go back to the basics. The basics are the foundation for all customer interaction, including conflict management. Understanding and applying these basics will get you the respect you deserve for your profession. It doesn’t have to be smooth-sailing all the time, but with your expertise, everything will work out fine. Know more about hotel management.