Finding the Opportunities in Online Complaints

By Sherry Heyl Founder & Consultant, Amplified Concepts | December 28, 2014

In the days before the Internet, there was an accepted wisdom that if a guest or customer had a good experience they might tell a few friends, but if they had a bad experience, they would tell everyone they know.

  • The average number of people a social customer will tell about a good customer experience: 42. ~ American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer

  • The average number of people a social customer will tell about a bad customer experience: 53. ~ American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer

Now that everyone has the ability to be an online publisher and reviewer, the story of one per-son’s experience is no longer limited to who they know. Stories can grow into worldwide Internet sensations. There are also no shortages of sites where a guest can express their opinions to oth-er travelers. TripAdvisor leads the pack, but there’s also Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia,,, and many other smaller players, not to mention the reviews that pop up on Facebook pages, Google plus, and within Twitter and Instagram streams.

All these voices and all these sites can feel so overwhelming that anyone running a hotel may de-cide to just bury their head and pretend none of it is real, and that none of it matters. But it is real, and online reviews matter a lot. Take a look:

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Melinda Minton
Bernard Perrine
Roger G. Hill
Tammy Farley
Al DeNapoli
David Michael Jerome
Michael Wildes
Doug Walner
Michael DiLeva
Simon Hudson
Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.