Why you need to go on vacation to be there for your customers

It is summer time and your vacation is approaching. Yes, it is. And you deserve to go away for a while and relax. Preferably, somewhere warm and sunny. Some place where the food is good. Who knows, maybe a tiny island where the locals always greet you with a smile.

The truth is, we all have very different definitions of a perfect vacation. There is, however, something we all have in common when it comes to our summer holiday. We all have expectations. We want our vacation to be full of laughter, excitement, and wonderful, wonderful memories.

The bad receptionist

Alas! Almost everybody has a similar version of the following story: “I was on vacation at this beautiful beach resort and the hotel receptionist was rude”. It’s been 3 years since that happened but somehow, we still share that story with our friends. Why? A rude receptionist is not the end of the world, right? The answer is no. But we had expectations. We expected instant gratification every single time we interacted with someone during our vacation. And since we paid money to spend a few days at a fancy beach resort, we might as well have gotten the service we deserved. But we didn’t. And that made us grumpy. We got so dissatisfied, we shared the story of the rude receptionist on Facebook. We got so disgruntled, we gave the resort a bad review on TripAdvisor.

Can the bad receptionist teach you a lesson about your customers?

Now, if you are a customer experience professional you deal with customers all the time. The truth is that customers are human beings and that makes them by default very complicated to deal with. There is no way you will be able to satisfy your customers if you don’t show some empathy. If you don’t try to put yourself in their shoes. The easiest way to do that is to remember all the times that you yourself, as a customer, were disappointed by the service you received. Every time you find yourself unable to sympathize with a complaining customer, think of that time you were on vacation and a rude receptionist ruined your experience. Your nagging customers are probably, on some level or another, feeling the same. They have expectations which you are not meeting and their overall experience with your brand will be compromised unless you do something about it.

If only you were listening…!

Let’s go back to when you were on vacation and the hotel receptionist didn’t give you the time of day. Wouldn’t your perception of the whole experience change for the better if the resort manager realized you are not receiving stellar service and, say, upgraded you to a room with an ocean view? The same logic, pretty much, applies when dealing with customers. You will always have the chance to turn the tables. All you need to do is listen.

The point is that just like your customers you are also human and you will make mistakes. There is always, however, the possibility to fix your mistakes and turn a negative experience into a positive one. The tricky part is that you should have processes in place to identify the moments that your customers are not satisfied. The easiest way to make sure your customers are happy is to go ahead and ask them. After that, all you have to do is take their feedback and turn it into actionable insights to maximize satisfaction. And, voilà, you are a customer experience hero!