Why learning how to handle guests complaints is important?
What you will learn in this lesson:
- The facts & figures about complaints.
- To be aware as a waiter, what do guests expect from us
- To distinguish between different types of complaints and to identify opportunities presented because criticism has been voiced.
- The steps of handling complaints
- Some tactics and strategies
- To boost your self-confidence in order to be able to remain calm when you receive a complaint and handle it with authority.
- To increase guests’ satisfaction.
What is a complaint?
By definition, a complaint is written or verbal displeasure of something wrong or not satisfactory! The guests express their dissatisfaction about the gap between expectations and the quality of the received service.
To handle complaints professionally, we need to put ourselves in the position of the guest. For example, when a guest agrees to pay for a product or service, he bases his decision on expectations.
The guest point of view:
- What did the guest expect?
- What have we promised the guests?
- Was our promise misleading and, therefore, the guest’s expectations too high?
The formula for success:
PROMISE = EXPECTATIONS = EXPERIENCE
Reasons for complaints:
- Expectations not fulfilled
- Kitchen or Waiters mistakes
- Technical problem
- The behavior of an employee
- Service problem – long waiting time
- Unusual complaints – lousy weather
- Cultural differences and language barrier
- Problems beyond our control
- Preexisting problem – the guest was upset from another department before arriving at the restaurant
Types of guests in the restaurant
- Shy guest – usually very quiet and rarely willing to voice a complaint.
- Suspicious – usually grumblers or moaners who try in a funny, friendly kind of way to put everything under doubt
- Know it all – mostly arrogant people who find fault in everything and honestly believe they could do it better
- Ruthless guest – people who can scream, verbally, and even physically abuse a service person
- Bluffer – people who try to take advantage of any situation to receive something for free
- Indecisive – it takes them forever to make a decision on anything
- Friendly – they talk a lot, ask a lot of questions, and expect the same amount of attention from the service person
- Hasty – they are always in a hurry and never have time or patience for anything
- Normal guests – don’t we love them!
Facts and Data (how to handle guests complaints)
- 90% OF INTERNET USERS READ PRODUCT REVIEWS
- 80% FEEL THEMSELVES APPEASED AS SOON AS THEY RECEIVE AN ANSWER OF THEIR FEEDBACK
- 60% PREFER TO BOOK A HOTEL/RESTAURANT THAT RESPONDS TO REVIEWS
- 40% CHANGE THEIR MIND ABOUT BUYING A PRODUCT AFTER READING THE PRODUCT REVIEW
- 88% OF PEOPLE SAY THAT REVIEWS INFLUENCE THEIR PURCHASING DECISION
Opportunities presented by the complaint
- Improve our problem-solving skills
- earn the guest’s loyalty
- We learn what the guests really want
- Satisfy the guest by taking care of the problem
- Highlights any shortcomings in our service
- Strengthening guest relationships through a fast, appropriate, and fair arrangement
What does the guest want when he has something to complain
The guest wants someone to talk to – first and foremost!
- who takes the time needed – take time and listen to the guest carefully
- who takes his problem seriously – show genuine concern about the problem the guest has
- by whom he feels understood – nick with your head and say “I understand” to show the guests that you get his point of view
- with a competent appearance – your pose, your facial expression, your clothes all talk to the guest their own way
- who helps him to solve his problem – tell the guest that there is a solution to the problem and you know it ( unless you really don’t)
- who has decision-making skills and can implement his decisions successfully – take swift action and explain to the guests what those actions include and how long it is going to take to solve the problem
SUCCESSFUL HANDLING OF COMPLAINTS DEPENDS ON:
- having a specific set of skills having
- vast knowledge about the job and the rules of the establishment
- the willingness to take ownership of the complaint
- persuasive presentation of the available solution
Complaints should be handled by the employees who are as close as possible to the place where it is all happening. They know best about what and how this happened.
Did you know that (how to handle guests complaints):
- ONLY 5% OF THE GUESTS COMPLAIN DIRECTLY TO THE PERSON WHO IS CAUSING THE PROBLEM OR IS AWARE OF IT. 95 OF 100 UNSATISFIED GUESTS DON’T GIVE US A CHANCE TO FIND OUT THE REASON FOR THEIR DISSATISFACTION. THEY DON’T SAY ANYTHING, JUST LEAVE AND NEVER COME BACK
- A SINGLE UNHAPPY GUEST TELLS 8-11 PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE AND CAUSES MULTIPLE NEGATIVE EFFECTS AND LOSS OF IMAGE
- ON AVERAGE HAPPY GUEST TELLS ONLY 3-4 PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR POSITIVE EXPERIENCE – THEREFORE, THE MULTIPLE POSITIVE EFFECT IS 3 TIMES SMALLER
- 90 % ARE WILLING TO COME BACK AFTER EFFECTIVE HANDLING OF COMPLAINT. THEY ALSO TELL 3-14 PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR POSITIVE EXPERIENCES. CREATES LOYALTY EFFECT! THAT LOYALTY GENERATED BY EFFECTIVE HANDLING OF COMPLAINTS PLAYS A LARGE ROLE IN FORMING A REPEAT CUSTOMER
- ACQUIRING A NEW GUEST CAN COST FIVE TIMES MORE THAN RETAINING AN EXISTING GUEST
STEPS OF HANDLING COMPLAINTS
- TAKE THE GUESTS TO A QUIET, PLEASANT PLACE ( WHEN POSSIBLE), LISTEN CAREFULLY, AND ASK (OPEN-ENDED) QUESTIONS
- SHOW EMPATHY “I UNDERSTAND, ” TRY TO CREATE A CONNECTION TO THE GUEST
- APPROPRIATE BODY LANGUAGE ( SHOW THE GUEST THAT YOU ARE LISTENING TO HIM, FOR EXAMPLE, WITH “A NOD” TAKE NOTES ABOUT THE CIRCUMSTANCES (IF POSSIBLE AND APPROPRIATE)
- FIND OUT THE “REAL” REASONS FOR THE COMPLAINT
- TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE COMPLAINT – YOU ARE THE ONE WHO SHOULD TAKE CARE OF THE GUEST’S PROBLEM. DON’T TRANSFER THE GUEST TO A COLLEAGUE
- OFFER THE BEST POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS (NOT ONE BUT SEVERAL)
- SUGGEST TO THE GUEST ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS (IF THE FIRST FEW ARE REJECTED)
- FOCUS ON THE SOLUTION, NOT THE PROBLEM
- WHEN THE GUEST CHOOSES A SOLUTION, TELL THE THEM WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
- EXPLAIN THE STEPS OF IMPLEMENTING
- SPECIFY THE TIME YOU NEED FOR IMPLEMENTATION
- GIVE THE GUEST FEEDBACK AFTER TAKING STEPS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM
- APOLOGIZE TO THE GUEST FOR THE INCONVENIENCE WE HAVE CAUSED THEM
- THANK THE GUEST FOR THEIR FEEDBACK AND EXPLAIN THAT THIS IS THE ONLY WAY WE CAN IMPROVE AND PROVIDE BETTER SERVICE IN THE FUTURE
- ADVICE YOUR SUPERVISOR ABOUT THE SITUATION OR FOLLOW THE INTERNAL COMPANY RULES
WHEN WE ARE HANDLING COMPLAINTS CORRECTLY
- we increase our guest satisfaction and develop active customer retention
- reduce costs
- boost the positive image of the resort
- we identify improvement potential in our organization
- involve the guest in problem-solving – guests appreciate the opportunity to choose the ways their problem is solved
- we enjoy our job
- makes us feel better about ourselves
TIPS & TRICKS (how to handle guests complaints)
- Keep your anger under control; breath deeply.
- Confident appearance
- Gain time by asking questions
- Repeat important arguments (points) in a quiet tone
- Pay attention to your facial expressions and body language.
- Keep eye contact
- If the guest is abusive, ask him kindly to moderate his tone.
- In extreme cases, go at a distance (create space) and ask your supervisor for help (ask your supervisor to come and manage the situation)
WHAT TO AVOID WHILE HANDLING COMPLAINTS
- Do not lay the blame on another person or department
- Do not feel personally attacked, don’t feel angry
- Do not critic the guest
- Do not look around while the guest is talking
- Do not become arrogant (know-it-all, seen it all type) even if the guest is
- Never say: Other guests have already told us
- Do not grumble at your colleagues
- Do not use excuses and flimsy reasons
- Do not disrespect the guest in any way
- Avoid the use of words like: unfortunately, anyway, but, to be honest, actually, I can’t promise, would, might, somehow
EXCELLENT BEHAVIOR TIPS
- We treat the guest professionally all the time and give him our undivided attention
- We exceed his expectations by uncovering his needs through a personal conversation
- We go the extra mile, we are proactive, and we aim to impress the guest with our individual service
- We greet each guest with an authentic smile, we call the guest by name, let him talk, and finish the conversation
- We use positive language, avoid abbreviations and service jargon. We limit ourselves to harmless topics.
- We use a friendly and precise formulation and restrict ourselves to the most essential contents
- We use appropriate body language during communication with the guest. Straight upright posture and constant eye contact
- We read and understand the body language of our guests and act accordingly
- We consider different cultures, and we stay open to all cultures and their habits
At the end of the day, if you know how to handle guests complaints you won’t experience the stress such an interaction usually brings. You will have the confidence and the tools, to resolve the situation and this will bring only joy into your heart!
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