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Do you have a strategy to manage the bad comments on social media?

Social media - we often talk of it in terms of the marketing opportunities, but what a lot of businesses often overlook are the threats and the need for a strategy to manage them.

I stayed at a major hotel in a city recently, only to find when I returned to the room at 6pm after a series of meetings throughout the day, that the room had not been cleaned.  No, there was not a “Do not disturb sign” on the door, nor had I been in the room when housekeeping came by. When I called reception, after laboriously explaining it wasn’t about the turn down service, they said they would send someone up to clean the room.  I then left the hotel and went out to meet someone for drinks, thinking this was the end of the matter.

On my return two hours later - no clean room. A call to the Duty Manager, elicited an apology, but as I indicated to him that was simply not good enough, suggesting instead that a nice bottle of wine might ease my dissatisfaction.

Finally, the room was clean and I had a bottle of “complimentary” red, only to find when I checked out the next morning that the wine on my bill. I was again not happy. Sure, they fixed the problem, but overall, my experience was not a good one.

Typically, you would tell a few people and that would be the end of it, but later that day I received an email from the accommodation website I used to make the booking, inviting me to do a review. And so I did. And then posted the same review on Tripadvisor. Now, instead of my displeasure being broadcast to a few people, it was being broadcast to many thousands who were considering booking that hotel.

Days later the Manager of the hotel posted a reply on Tripadvisor, so clearly the hotel did have a policy to manage customer feedback, but there are so many businesses that don’t. Having appropriately trained staff to ensure you don’t receive a bad review in the first place is the best strategy. But when you do have a dissatisfied customer and get a bad review, you need to know what to do to manage the fall out.

Service Skills Australia is in the process of finalising new units in the Tourism and Hospitality Training Package to address this very issue. We are also developing resources to support the units. Don’t let mistakes like this hit the profitability of your business by leaving them unchecked…
Yasmin King