Customer Service: Handling Complaints (Part 1: Empathizing)

Good customer service is essential to success in any industry, but it is particularly important in
the service and hospitality sector.
“Hospitality” means treating guests well; and here, we’re talking specifically about hotels.
Because service is so vital to hospitality, hotels are a good place to look for excellent service practices.
So today we’ll be listening in on a phone call from an angry customer at the Majestic, a five-star hotel in Shanghai.
By listening to a bad example and a good example of service practice, we’ll be studying skills that are useful in any industry, no matter whether you are dealing with internal or external customers.

We’ll see that a very important part of handling angry customers is showing empathy: Empathy is similar to sympathy – it means showing that you understand the customer’s pain.

Listening Questions:

Bad Example:
1) How does the customer, Steve, learn the service associate’s name?
2) What is Steve’s problem?
3) How could Jenna have handled the complaint better?

Good Example:
1) When Steve says, “I’m at the end of my rope,” what does he mean?
2) What does Sandy do to calm Steve down?

Customer Service: Handling Complaints (Part 2: Resolving the Complaint)

This is the second part on handling angry customers on the telephone.
Here we’ll be looking at how to resolve the customer’s complaint.

First a quick review: In part one we learned the first three steps for calming down angry customers and dealing with their complaints:

- First, we need to acknowledge their emotions by showing empathy.
- Second, we should identify the background to their problem so that we can take the right steps to fix it.
- And third, we should listen actively to show them that we care.

Where we left off last time, Sandy, a service associate at the front desk of the Majestic Hotel, had just finished identifying Steve’s problem. Let’s continue listening to see how Sandy resolves the complaint.

Listening Questions:

1) How does Sandy show that he is actively listening to Steve?
2) What does Steve need?
3) What steps does Sandy take to ensure that Steve is satisfied with the outcome of the call?