Unhappy Customer Feedback Is a Gift One of our faithful subscribers sent in a question. While he’s in the hospitality industry, this could apply to any type of business. There have most likely been times that many of us have fallen short in taking care of our customers. It could be an isolated incident, which is easy to fix. But what happens when it becomes a trend? With that in mind, here’s his question, followed by my answer and comments. He writes:

I would love to get some service-related feedback. My hotels have struggled this year with our service scores. In years past both of my locations were consistently in the top 30% of brands. This year we have been in the bottom 30%. Any advice/ideas to get our scores moving in a positive direction would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

My answer to him was as follows:

This is a big question that could have many answers. There are lots of variables. Consider these five questions:

  1. Do you have the same number of employees, or did you cut employees because of the pandemic?
  1. Is there a common complaint you’re hearing over and over?
  1. Is there one person (or more) that you know is causing the problem?
  1. Do you consistently train and have daily or weekly huddles where you discuss the service opportunities that were missed in the last day (or week)?
  1. Do you provide ongoing reinforcement or training to keep your employees guest-focused?

You don’t need to answer me. These questions are for you and your management team. Hope they are helpful. 

I think you’ll agree that you don’t have to be in the hotel or hospitality industry to benefit from answering these questions. Other than the first question, which mentions the pandemic, these questions could be appropriate any time you notice a slip in your ratings and/or reviews. There are many reasons that ratings could drop. It could be a downturn in the economy. It could be supplier issues. It could be a hiring problem. It could be that a competitor is delivering a better experience. The list could go on and on.

As we wrap up here, there is something important to point out. This hotel owner knew his ratings were slipping and wanted to do something about it. So, consider these three steps. First, there must be a way to measure the experience. Second, beyond the feedback, listen to what customers and employees are saying, which gives your measurement some context. And third, once you have data and feedback, do something about it. Breaking that down into three words: measure, interpret, and act. That’s a valuable formula for any type of business.