Is The Guest Always Right? (Yes, But It’s Complicated)

In the vacation rental industry, hosts need to deliver excellent customer service to succeed. But, does that mean that the guest is always right?

It is a question that many business owners struggle with: Is the customer always right? Yes, and no. The saying, “The customer is always right”, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to run your business according to everything they say. In fact, that could actually lead you to fail fast. You’d constantly be making changes to satisfy every guest’s desire and whim, and what one guest prefers another may hate.

Instead, here is what the experts at recommend for exceptional customer service.

1. Listening is the key.

As a business, you need to be consistent and sustainable, but you should also listen to your customers. Even if you don’t agree with feedback or complaints that a guest gives you, there could be valuable takeaways from them. Don’t view negative feedback as an attack on your business. It may be the constructive criticism that you need to improve and grow.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of apologies.

Whether you are right or not, saying you’re sorry is part of customer service. It shows that you care and have empathy. At times, you may be wrong. When you are, it’s better to own up to it. CEOs of the most successful businesses have openly admitted their mistakes, apologized publicly, and received positive responses from their customers. For inspiration, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos are two examples of CEOs that know how to deliver a thoughtful apology.

3. When appropriate, learn how to say no with care.

Even if the customer is wrong, don’t be rude. In the digital age, your interactions with guests are highly visible and public. If you dispute or discredit what guests say, it comes off as defensive and shady.

If a guest demands something that you can’t possibly provide, let them down gently and professionally. Apologize for it, and if possible, offer alternatives to their request or compensation for the problem. In some situations, it may help to calmly explain why you are unable to fulfill their request. A little more understanding of a situation can also improve a customer’s disposition.

4. Consider what is right for your business.

The motto shouldn’t be followed so literally. You shouldn’t overhaul your business or add something ridiculous to your property just because one guest said so. For instance, you wouldn’t immediately install a water bed because one person said they thought you should have one, would you? Ultimately, you have to weigh guest feedback against what is best for your vacation rental.

Of course, it is important to note that it would be naive to think that every customer is great. In the vacation rental industry, there are bad and good guests. Although we like to think that the good guests far outnumber the bad, as a business, you have to be alert to scammers. For the most part though, if you take the right precautions and procedures, your guests are likely reasonable people with reasonable wants and needs from vacation rentals.

The customer is always right doesn’t mean that you always give the customer what they want. It means that you care about their experiences and want to ensure that they have the best stay possible. Managing a vacation rental and delivering quality guest service can take a lot of work. and our team of booking professionals take much of the workload off hosts and help them grow their business.

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