Handle a complaint
How to best handle a complaint from a client who booked your villa in Sicily
Sometimes, despite having the best intentions and believing you have done the best to welcome the client, you still might receive some complaints afterwards.
Undoubtedly, the risk of a claim is directly proportional to the number of bookings coming in. Therefore, since the high season is on its way, you might want to learn about specific procedures to be put into practice in such events, in order to be able to help yourself and the client to “negotiate” an agreement.
Firstly, it is recommended to ask yourself how to prevent a complaint, however if that happens, the advices listed below will help you best handle the situation:
Listen and empathize
Knowing how to listen and empathize the customer is essential in these cases! It doesn’t matter how small and irrelevant the problem might seem to you, it is definitely relevant to your customer. In such cases, listening and recognizing the problem will put you on the guest’s same wavelength and it will help you to stay calm and, what’s more, to make yourself useful.
Solve the problem
Try to solve the problem immediately, if you can. Do not wait for the day after unless you are in the middle of the night: in this last case, reassure the customer that you'll take care of the problem as the first thing in the morning.
Verify the seriousness of the problem by taking into account the possibility to find an optional accommodation. It is important to keep your customer informed of what you are doing to address the issue and remember to update him/her on the progresses made when working on the problem.
Have a face to face rapport
If you are unable to go to the location yourself, try to find and send a trusted person. It is essential that the client feels able to talk as well as to show the problem through a face to face rapport; this will help your guest to release the irritation and it will also give you an idea of the actual seriousness of the problem. Make sure you constantly get updated on the situation by your trusted person so as to report all the progresses made to your client and keep track of the situation.
Keep a professional attitude
This will give your customer the feeling that you know your way to fix the problem, therefore that you're doing the right thing.
Customer satisfaction is your main goal
Always keep in mind the “customer satisfaction” as your main goal, to the extent of what this is possible. Solving the disputes should be a common interest. If you get too many complaints on the same subject during the course of a season, start considering the idea to solve the problem not only in the short but in the long term as well. This could lead you to a remodelling investment and/or to pay more attention when doing general cleaning.
Bear in mind:
Sometimes a problem, according to the way it is managed, can turn into an opportunity. Contact the customer on his return home, and ask for feedback on the issue occurred. If the response is positive it means you've been successful in your follow up and the customer will give you credit for that. Alternatively, consider the possibility to offer a partial refund and/or a discount on their next sojourn in your holiday home in Sicily.