Quit Yer Complaining Already
One of the more enjoying aspects of being an administrative assistant, front desk coordinator or receptionist is the interaction with clients, customers or patients.
However, the number of complainers and dissatisfied people coming through our doors continues to increase. Having to handle these people and complaints on an ongoing basis can weigh on anyone in a customer service-type position down.
For multiple clients, my job involves customer service. Quite recently -- Tuesday night to be honest -- one of the vacation home phone numbers in California that I manage flashed across my phone. It was quite late, so with a deep breath and a quick clearing of my throat, I answered pleasantly knowing full well something was most likely wrong.
Wow -- did I hit that nail on the head! The woman on the other end said they had just arrived and the refrigerator did not “feel” as cold as she thought it should. I explained how to turn it up and, yes, the fridge was fully functional and would take a short time to cool down more.
Not five minutes later, the same number flashed, so I answered pleasantly, and this time it was her husband. In a rather curt voice, he said they had found some dust in the house and wanted to know if we used “real” cleaning crews between guests. Rather than getting irritated with his line of questioning, I shared our cleaning process. Not only do we have professional cleaners, but we also pay close attention to sanitizing surfaces, opening windows and allow 24 hours between guests for safety reasons.
Five minutes later, the phone rang again with another complaint and this comment: “We are too creeped out to stay here.” I realized this couple was not going to be happy until the situation was remedied in a more physical manner. Within 20 minutes, I had reached the cleaners and they went back to the home to clean. Case closed, or so I thought.
The next morning, I received a phone call that this couple thought their vacation had been ruined by these issues and, they wanted to know, what were we going to do for them and how much of a refund would they get? This came with the threat of “If you don’t issue a refund, we will take this to social media in the form of negative reviews.” All because of dust and a fridge they didn’t think was cooled down enough.
In the end, what made them happy? Another thorough cleaning of the home and a refund of one night’s stay.
Do people complain because they just want money back? What I have learned over years of customer service, is yes, maybe they do want some sort of compensation, but in reality, they just want to vent and be heard. Usually, something has been building up or their emotions have been bottled up, and ultimately, one little thing breaks them down and it all comes pouring out.
My best piece of advice to anyone in customer service is this: Let the complainer talk. These emotions need to escape so they vent, get it off their chest and move on.
I know being on the receiving end is difficult, but keep in mind, the complaining is not about you and it's not personal.
Be kind, listen and do not let it get to you.