It is impossible for anyone in the service industry to be flawless. You are dependent on several other people to provide the intended service to customers and any mistake on behalf of any of them can lead to bitter customer complaints. But you can use the same complaints smartly in your favor. An effective mechanism to address and solve complaints raises you to a status of being an excellent vacation rental manager. You can use the following points for transforming complaints into opportunities of achieving valuable customer loyalty.
Be an organized property manager. Set down reasonable terms and conditions and communicate them to the clients at the time of booking lest they should come to you for concerns where you would not like to hold yourself accountable. For example, if you want to incorporate a condition where a booking gets canceled in case a customer does not arrive within 24 hours of the expected time without any information, write it down on a contract to prevent misunderstandings.
Be clear in all your communications, and have in written as much of it as possible. A professional sharpness in terms of contracts and tariffs will save you from a great deal of trouble.
Be approachable by your clients, right from the moment they finalize a booking. Communication is paramount in the vacation rental industry; encourage a free flow of it to succeed in the business. Share your phone number, an alternative fixed line number, email ID, and social media page with customers so that they can reach you by any medium they find suitable.
If possible, try to meet your customers in person once or twice during their stay – this will help them connect with you. A warm reception on their arrival day would be ideal; your customers will really appreciate the hospitality, and it will show on the review books!
Your customers are your best critics. Encourage them to talk to you about their experiences – both good and bad. Keep a book of reviews, encourage a bit of web-based interaction, or do a casual phone call inquiring about how they are finding your rental.
Be receptive to the complaints you hear from the folks staying at your place. Listening to them attentively will reassure them that you are genuinely concerned about giving them a good experience. The better you listen, the more you will remember and it subsequently will enable you to solve all grievances effectively. Your customers will really appreciate these efforts you make at understanding and resolving their concerns, and will go back home with good reviews about your rental.
In this business of yours you will come across all sorts of people; some will be picky about little things that practically don’t even matter. You will face customers who’ll call you half a dozen times in a day and talk in outright rude tones. While this may frustrate you, do not let your frustration show.
Be calm, polite and discerning to your renters if you want to convert them into lifelong rental customers. Remember that you are at a job, working to make a customer come back, and not to have a pleasant time conversing with guests who rent your vacation home. Teach yourself not to take nasty remarks personally and to exercise calm even if you want to scream out loud!
A plumber not turning up on time is not your fault. But a guest at your vacation rental who has a precious few days that she wants to spend with her family in total bliss will hold you responsible for not being able to meet her expectations. Under such a circumstance, it will do you more harm than good to put off the glitch as someone else’s fault. Therefore, instead of defending yourself, say a humble sorry and assure her that you would do the best in your power to fix the problem as quick as possible.
Never let your customers feel ignored or taken for granted. If you get a message or a missed call from any of your guests, make sure you return a call promptly and tell them you are working on mending their problems. Be proactive in your support and responses, so that one never has to place the same complaint twice.
Make up for genuine mistakes on your part by compensating in whichever way you find suitable. Some discount on the total rent, a free sightseeing trip, a gift – offer something more than an apology to make your guests feel special. They will appreciate your thoughtful gestures.
Feedback helps you become better at your job, particularly if it is a negative one. Do not take it personally or dishearteningly – just work continuously on customer complaints to make your vacation rental go from better to best.
It is best that you recognize the source of a problem and make amends in it instead of just fixing things superficially. For example, if you receive repeated complaints that invariably track down to the folly of a particular housekeeping staff member consider replacing him with a more efficient and responsible person.
Your job as a property manager for your destination home is surely not an easy one, but it also has several perks to offer once you grab the knack of smart customer dealing. So develop patience and keep learning and implementing the best practices of the industry.
Your alertness to complaints and exceptional customer service can help to transform problems into opportunities for improvisation and win loyal customers. Here’s wishing you all the best for a fruitful renting career ahead!