How to turnaround difficult customers

2 Nov 2018     |    Ricki Hudson

How to turnaround difficult customers

Regardless of the industry, difficult customers are inevitable. There’s always going to be that one person in the tour group who isn’t satisfied with their experience, or who thinks that your company should have done more throughout the tour. As a tour and activity company, you have to strike the right balance of providing the dissatisfied customer with a resolution without impacting everyone else who is enjoying the tour or activity. If you’re wondering how to turnaround difficult customers, then these tips will help your tour and activity company:

Listen and make eye contact when the customer is speaking

In most cases, when a customer is frustrated or upset they simply want to be heard. Venting their anger is often an easy way to dispel it, and as the tour guide, you need to be ready to listen. If a customer approaches you with constructive criticism, make eye contact while they are speaking and listen attentively. They will take note of this body language, and will likely be more accepting of your response.

Avoid the defense, and offer quick, innovative solutions

Rather than escalating the situation by being combative and defensive, offer a polite apology for their discomfort or dissatisfaction, and then move on to generating a resolution that they will appreciate. Tour guides who can think quickly on their feet and who know how to appease dissatisfied customers are often the most successful in the industry.

Stay calm and remain patient

Patience is a skill that is not taught during any training exercises, rather it is one that most tour guides acquire throughout their careers. Staying patient with customers is necessary because a heated conflict can have a lasting impact on your tour and activity brand.

Remind the guest of the expectations while on the tour

Most guests begin to complain when they feel the tour has not met their expectations. If a guest is upset about something that they — or you — cannot control, you need to take it upon yourself to gently remind them about the realities of the experience. For example, a whale watching excursion may result in a boat ride without any whale sightings. This is understandably disappointing, but you need to remind the guest that your policies clearly state that you can make no guarantees when it comes to nature.

As a last resort, remove the guest from the situation

A guest who is being disruptive or who is putting the health and safety of other guests at risk must be swiftly removed from the situation. There should be guidelines in place at your company for dealing with these guests.

One way to minimize the number of unruly, disruptive or dissatisfied guests on your tours is to provide clear and realistic expectations prior to embarking on the adventure. Be sure that your advertisements and promotions are comparable to the actual experience that you provide, and strive to deliver on all of your marketing promises. Also, deliver clear conduct guidelines prior to the tour so that everyone understands how to behave on it.

For more tips like “how to turnaround difficult customers”, or other customer service topics in the tour and activity industry, follow the Rezdy blog.

Image credit: Sydney Rae