How to deal with Difficult Customers?

Much of the world experiences all sorts of thunderstorms or weather-related travel delays. These result in angry visitors and the need to rework all sorts of travel schedules.

1. In the northern hemisphere, the month of August is often called the “dog days” of summer.  The name derives from the fact that it is often too hot for even a dog to want to wander along the streets.

2. The end of the summer traditionally has also been high tourist season in much of the world. The tourism industry is hoping that after the major economic declines of the past year that 2021 will be a time of recovery.

3. If the vaccines work then 2021 might be a time when planes and hotels are full, and visitors’ nerves are often frayed.  This is the month when things, often beyond the tourist professional’s control, often seem to go wrong. 

No matter what you do, there will always be those who want more or are not pleased with what you do. Visitors are paying a great deal for their vacation and want to feel in control, even in situations where no one has any control.

Develop scenarios in which the customer has some sense of control no matter how slight. For example, instead of merely saying that something cannot be done/accomplished, try to phrase the response as a potential alternative.

When offering these alternatives, make sure that front-line personnel always remain alert and demonstrate patience. Often, a tourism crisis can be eliminated not by solving the entire crisis, but by allowing the customer to feel that he or she has won at least a small victory.

There are many reasons that people travel, some for pleasure, some for business, and some for social status. For those in the latter group, it is important that tourism professionals understand the power of „social standing‰.  These are people who tend not to want to hear excuses.

They are fast to anger and slow to forgive. In dealing with them, know what angers you and when you have reached your limits. Be wise enough to recognize when trouble is brewing and that help will be needed.

Tourism is an industry that challenges our own sense of self-worth. The public can be both demanding and at times unfair. Often, events occur that are simply out of our control. It is during these times that it is essential to control one’s internal fears and emotions.

If your words express one idea and your body language states another, you will soon lose credibility.

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