You can’t please everyone, right?  

Business owners often fail to act on customer feedback or complaints.  Some may even make a policy decision not to respond, dismissing such feedback or complaints with blithe comments like “You can´t please everyone”.  

Well no, perhaps you can’t.  But acknowledging your guests’ feedback demonstrates good manners and managerial pragmatism. By being seen to respond, you’re showing all of your customers (and potential new ones) that your firm does actually notice and care about the operational details of the business.  At the very least it shows you’re “on the ball” and not running an amateurish operation.  

If you’re in the tourism and hospitality sector, whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, it’s impossible to ignore the impact of review sites like Trip Advisor, Open Table and Google Local.  They have to be respected because of their huge influence with consumers researching where to stay, where to eat and drink, or what to see and do.    

Making a policy decision not to reply to any complaints or negative feedback online is business suicide these days.   Why wouldn’t you try to turn around a complaint situation, thus retaining both your good reputation and their custom?   To dismiss the need for any response is evidence of a worrying complacency.  How does this gradually kill off custom? Well, your customers feel you are a bit snooty and arrogant, in effect ignoring them (and British audiences in particular tend to dislike bad manners and show offs!).  

By ignoring your customer feedback you’re also missing some performance management and staff development gifts. It gives you that rare chance to see your business through the eyes of your customers.  You’ll spot the team members who are your best assets (the ones that guests commend, time and time again) so you can share that good practice with everyone in your team (or quickly rectify the bad practice!).   When you get those working examples into your Operational Handbook and Staff Training Programmes you’ll instantly add value to the quality of your staffing and your overall guest experience, often at no additional operational expense.  

Another way tourism and hospitality businesses can get helpful customer feedback is by commissioning a Mystery Shopper service.  It can be enlightening for everyone involved!  The outcomes are documented in comprehensive reports which acknowledge and share all the good practice, whilst highlighting where necessary changes must be made, and why. These reports name names (where possible), dates and times so that there is a process of accountability and helpful evidence is always provided to back up recommendations.

So next time you get a bad review or a customer complaint, instead of thinking “You can’t please everyone”, instead think of it as a gift that’s showing you how you could turn your business around and gain even more customers.  That’s not to say that we believe the customer is always right, but there are always ways of maintaining your composure and professionalism online whilst fighting back!  We lovethis example.