Do Customers Make You Sick?

A few years ago I worked at a resort in a department that resolved customer complaints.  Every single work day, our phones rang off the hook or our email boxes were filled with complaints from customers.  Can you imagine that? 

We were responsible for investigating those complaints to determine the facts in each situation.  Our research led to discovering that some clients presented the full truth, some exaggerated a bit and others were totally dishonest.

At that time, I led a team of four people and at our team huddles I would often hear them say that “these customers make me sick”.

It’s easy to come to that conclusion when the focus is on just one type of client.  Usually these comments were directed to the clients who muddled the truth or were completely dishonest.

Usually, as a part of client satisfaction, we would offer those types of clients a small discount on a future visit.  It could be a ten percent or a twenty percent discount depending on the situation.  Those clients happily accepted the discounts. This was not a major hit to the organization’s bottom line as they offered specials consistently anyway.  Empty rooms don’t make money.

There were times however when an only apology was extended if the client was a multiple abuser of this method of receiving a discount.  Even in these instances, the clients more often than not booked another vacation at the resort.

While my team was looking at the small picture, the organization was looking at the bigger picture. Teaching them to look at the bigger picture allowed them to view the complaining customer as a gift.  They help us to understand how to improve our operations.  The customers with legitimate issues, provide us with the opportunity to notice trends or risks that we need to pay attention to and also provide us with information to help make their experience as well as the experience of other customers more enjoyable.

Focusing on the big picture made working in that department so much more enjoyable.  While some customers really do work on your nerves and get under your skin they still the ones bringing the much needed revenue for the operation to remain open and for us to remain employed. 

Providing a small discount to clients who wanted to return worked in this organization’s favor.  Those customers paid for rooms, purchased food and beverage in the resort’s restaurants, patronized gift shops,  pay for their children to participant in events at the resort’s kids club, participated in other events requiring payment.  When you look at the big picture those funds provided in the discount were recouped at the end of the day.

Even when the customer believes he or she has gotten over an organization, if the customer service recovery process is right – the organization still wins; sometimes even more than the customer.


Duquesa D. Dean is a Certified Trainer, Speaker and a Transformation Coach. She is an Associate Trainer with the International Board of Certified Trainers and has over 20 years experience in the customer service field. She coaches organizations large and small to lift their service levels and offers a unique style of customer service training. Duquesa is the author of three books “Chase Your Dreams”, “Sister, Stand Up Again & “Bruised But Not Broken”.

To book Duquesa, email or call 242-424-6012

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