"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going."
- Paul Theroux

AIRDA NewsDesk

Message of the Month

July 2015

My message this month, like the theme of our Q&A, is about customer reviews and feedback. Today's customer will not hesitate to post a comment, or a grouse - simply because he is far more outspoken and better informed. Something that starts off as a small concern can end up getting larger than you had ever visualized or imagined.

In response, we must address anything a customer feels about quality, service, or the facility - without getting defensive. We must also keep our eyes and ears open, because feedback can happen in the middle of the night, on a travel portal.

At the end of the day, the customer is always right . . .

Customers always want a room with a view . . .
If a room with just the perfect view is not free, it’s probably helpful to say something like, room bookings are tight this season, but if another room frees up, you could do a shift for him. If the view outside the window is not really flattering, and you have people constantly complaining about it, you should maybe offer a comforter. Maybe dinner on the house for one night. Guests instinctively know that you can’t do much about room allocations, but they need to have their say – after all they’re on vacation. That’s why it’s useful to listen to their side of the story and see if something can be done. The dinner-on-the-house suggestion was just an example – there could be many other ways of appeasing the guest.

When the master chef goes on vacation . . .
When it comes to food, it’s virtually impossible to keep everyone happy and totally satisfied - and that’s where chefs and waiters are constantly tearing their hair out. Some customers can even tell when the food tastes different, based on a previous experience. So the best thing to do is make peace and offer the next best option – and make it available as soon as possible. If you don’t have another option, promise the customer something special for the next meal.

Put the man with the biggest smile on room service . . .
At many resorts, room service tops the list in terms of customer feedback – especially if you keep this service open till late in the night. Apparently, people don’t like to wait for more than 10 minutes for a room service order, even if the meal takes 25 minutes to cook. But if the customer has a genuine complaint that can be verified, it helps to sort things out. Customers are invariably satisfied if you accept there was a lapse and make amends – even it is in some small way.

The customer comes first . . .
Very soon we will present our studies and analysis on a Customer Satisfaction Survey that we are working on – in fact we are in the last stages of this exercise. In the hospitality industry, especially timeshare, it is useful to find out what our customers think - across various touch points. Early insights are useful eye openers, and please do watch this space for more information. We’ll keep you posted.

B. S. Rathor
Advisor & Member - Executive Committee

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