No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Everyone makes mistakes


The secret to great customer service is not to never make mistakes or get things wrong; the secret is much simpler than that...

In my job, I get to stay in a variety of different hotels and have experienced many different levels of service. Over the years, I’ve become fascinated by customer service and a recent experience summed up what, for me, is wrong with the service offered by a lot of companies.

I’m an early riser and was up, as usual, at half-past six.  As I knew breakfast wasn’t served until 8 o’clock - quite late for a hotel that offers itself as a work venue - I thought I could set myself up in the training room first and then have breakfast.  There was just one small problem: the shower was pumping out only freezing cold water. I called down to reception and politely explained that there seemed to be a problem with the hot water in my room.

“Boiler doesn’t come on until 7 o’clock,” came the reply.

“Right; but I need a shower now,” I explained.

There was a slight pause and the man repeated: “Boiler doesn’t come on until 7 o’clock.”

I was struggling a little to understand this so I asked, not unreasonably, I thought, what happened if a guest - like me, for instance - wanted a shower before 7 o’clock?  The pause was longer this time, as the man on reception registered that he was clearly dealing with an idiot.

“Boiler doesn’t come on until 7 o’clock,” he repeated, adding helpfully, “It’s on a timer.”

“So, basically, I can’t have a shower until after 7 o’clock?” I asked, rather exasperated.

“No,” he said. “Is that alright?”

I’m not unreasonable. If I had been told, when I checked in, that there was no hot water before 7 o’clock, then it would have been fine.  If he’d shown the least amount of empathy or interest, then I would have been grumpy but it would have been fine - it was only a half-an-hour wait, anyway.  The thing that irritated me so much about this was that there was absolutely no empathy from the man. No attempt to explain. No sense that he understood or sympathised. Nothing to indicate, in fact, that he cared at all.  And why should he; I’m only a paying customer with a request that doesn’t fit into the way he runs his hotel. What do I matter?  

Except that I, like all clients, do matter. And that he, running a hotel, is supposed to be providing a service to me.  The fact is, his attitude made the situation much worse than it needed to be and here’s the secret in dealing with complaints: it’s not the complaint that matters - it’s the way you deal with it that really counts.

Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes things go wrong.  All customers understand that - mistakes aren’t the issue.  The issue is the way you, as the service or product provider, deal with the complaint.  Deal with it like you care, like it matters to you, and you’re likely to turn the customer around and they’ll keep coming back. Act like you just don’t care and you’ll get people like me telling the readers of their blog to stay away from the Hydro Hotel in Windermere.

One Response

  1. Companies must be sympathetic

    I totally agree with you Steve. We all understand that problems will arise and you can’t always get a service you want, in this case a shower at 6am (very frustrating I have to agree!) but it’s how these problems are dealt with that really matters. If a company takes time to try and understand what the customer is upset about and sympathises with them, it goes a long way to making up for the problem. This doesn’t mean they will resolve it, just to try to resolve it is often enough. 

    Read about the Learning Management System at accessplanit

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!