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frontline-cold-6112857_s-2015Sometimes, your customers just want to feel heard.

A number of years ago, I was travelling for a job interview and booked a night at a Hampton Inn. I awoke and looked to take a shower when I discovered a problem. My room had no hot water.

I dressed and went to the front desk and explained the situation—I was getting ready for an interview and the room had no hot water—and a nearby manager ran over and said, “We’ll comp your room” – giving me the room for free. That was all well and good, but I had just explained that I was travelling for an interview, and it would have been easy to assume that I wasn’t paying for the room. Therefore not only did the comped room not matter to me practically, it also didn’t matter emotionally—it was clear that the manager didn’t listen, but instead jumped immediately to a solution. His “resolution” left me more frustrated than the original situation.

Listen, Then Speak

If you assume that all your customers want from you are free things, the policy of offering a free night’s stay is an obvious solution to any guest’s problem. However, more often than not, being given free stuff is not what a disgruntled customer wants when they contact your customer service. When I called the attendant at my Hampton Inn, I was nervous as I prepared for the interview, and what I really wanted was the desk attendant to hear what I had to say and to apologize. (more…)