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45 minute complaints training session.


I have been asked to put together a training session for hotel staff on handling guest complaints. Because of shifts etc the training session would ideally last no longer that 45 minutes (but would be followed up at later date). Does anyone have any ideas or experience of running such a short session - and if so what worked well in the time allowed?
Sarah Daley

6 Responses

  1. Complaints Handling
    45 minutes is indeed short, so it would make sense to try and get them to do a bit of pre-course work. An approach that I have used is to ask them to provide a list of the top three complaints that they deal with – most common and/or most awkward to handle. Select the most common ones overall (how many depends on the time avaailable) and then ask them to work in small groups to suggest how they could handle these. The value in this approach is that the less capable and inexperienced get the benefit of the skills of the more capable staff in a very non-judgemental way. They also have a set of practical solutions to typical scenarios that they can start using straight away. As the trainer you can plug the gaps in knowledge and validate the positive responses. If they have given you the typical complaints as pre-course work then you will have time to prepare for this – and to provide a summary handout of the ideal responses.

    This gives them the ‘what’ to do/say – ideally, you would also want to spend time looking at the ‘how’. That could perhaps be the next session. A role-play would be good, if they are up for it. I would also bring them together at a later date to find out how they have got on and tackle issues that maybe weren’t correctly described the first time round.

    It’s actually quite a fun session, and can even provide the organisation with a bit of informal feedback in the areas it isn’t performing.

    Hope that helps.


  2. at the risk of noty answering the question

    What are the parameters for these folk in dealing with a complaint:
    -do they listen sweetly and tell the customer who to approach with their complaint?
    -do they listen and take ownership of getting the right manager to sort out the complaint?
    -are they empowered to fix the complaint up to a certain realistic level of value?

    45 minutes would be more than enough time to train IF the chambermaid was allowed to fix the problem rather than passing it up to the Head of Housekeeping.
    It makes for happier staff, happier customers, less time spent dealing with complaints and more time spent making customers happy


  3. Staff are customers as well
    Hi Sarah

    An exercise I’ve used successfully before is to give them pre-work which is to rate previous experiences as a customer and as a customer making a complaint. What made the experience good or bad? The answer is nearly always to do with how they were treated as people. Discuss for the first 10 minutes. You can then tie that in to how they handle their customers.

    I use a simple formula of apologising; Listening without interruption; asking questions to clarify (take notes if necessary); signposting what you can/are going to do and then doing it within the promised time. Overarching the whole process is not taking it personally and dtaying calm – the customer has every right to complain if they perceive they have not been given good service.

    You should have time for a couple of role plays using that formula.

    Feel free to contact me if you would like more details


  4. What is the purpose ?
    Hi Sarah,

    What is the purpose of designing this training? Is it to address a gap or is it to be designed as a general module to be trained to all the staff members? I have worked in the hotel industry for last 10 years and would be happy to provide information. Email me on – [email protected].



  5. role play in complaints training
    I lead the training group on the east midlands tenants forum and we’ve recently developed a workshop on how to complain effectively based on role play (the workshop is called ‘an actor’s life). It consists of four short role plays based on typical houisng related probs followed by discussion. the workshop lasts for about an hour but as each role play is seperate it can be varied according to time. we’ve found it popular with tenants who can play one of the parts if they choose. Role play seems particulary suited to this kind of training rather then the standard ‘this is how to do it’ type training. the main problem we had was scripting the sessions to ensure we didn’t offend anyone.

  6. try these guys
    Hi Sarah, i would have to agree 45 mins is a short time to cover knowledge areas and more importnatly embed them into the DNA of your delegates. On the job follow ups through yourself, the training team or line managers is paramount to success here to enure people are using them and being measured via strict KPIs for complaints.

    I would try these guys:-



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