Day 7: Buyer Beware
In the hospitality industry, we know that the guests expect us to know and do everything for them. We know that once they are on the road, the lose all abilities to help themselves and rely heavily on the staff. The staff cannot perform magic. There are just some things that we cannot do. There are services that the hotel provides that the hotel does not provide. We are the middle- man. We handle the transactions and the guest, but do not perform the service. An example of such an instance is dry cleaning. Since the hotel does not have dry cleaning facilities on property, and guest demand was so high, the hotel decided to connect the two together. The transaction traditionally works as such: the guest hands us their dry cleaning on their way to work, we hand it to the driver from the cleaners, they bring it back once finished with a receipt, we charge the guest the amount on the receipt, and then turn around and give that amount to the cleaners.
The other day there was a deviation from the standard transaction. Every once in a while a guest will grumble about the prices of the dry cleaning services, but since we do not set theses prices there is nothing that the staff can do. The other day, a man sent out a large round table cloth to be dry cleaned. On the pricing list there is no category for such a request, but the guest needed it done. When the item returned, the guest was furious at the bill. To dry clean his large, round table cloth the cleaners had charged him $100. It should be noted that the guest did not call the cleaners to get an estimate as is logical. He placed the order under the assumption that the cost would fall in a range that he found acceptable. We did not charge him. The cleaners charged him.
The guest’s reaction was as follows: first he screamed at the front desk staff, then explained that he did not blame the hotel staff on the second day, then blame the hotel staff on the third day. On the fourth he was just curt with the staff. Management decided to pay the entire cost and file it under guest service recovery. Guest service recovery is also known throughout the hospitality industry as “get this guest out of my fucking face before I slap him, just compensate him because the emotional anguish that he is causing me is greater than the dollar amount.”
If you are a fellow guest service soldier, remember the power of the guest service recovery, but do not over estimate it. It will not fully get rid of the guest, only placate them. You must wait until they go back home, and even then they still might hassle you over the phone. Sometimes there really is no other way except patience.
Hope that this aids your survival.
Good luck. Godspeed.