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Problems may bolster satisfaction

jd-powerTime and again research confirms that customer encounters in which a problem is resolved quickly and efficiently receive higher satisfaction scores than situations in which there was no problem reported.

Obviously, each customer is different with respect to his temperament and tolerance for mistakes. But dropping the ball here or there can turn out to be a good thing if the problem is properly resolved.

Using a hotel example, imagine you’ve just been asked to answer a satisfaction survey about a recent hotel experience. As you reflect on how satisfied you were with different elements of your stay, you consider all the touch points in which you experienced the facility and interacted with the hotel staff:

  • The friendliness of the hotel employees
  • The timeliness of check-in
  • The ambiance of the hotel (interior design and décor)
  • The amenities offered in the guest room
  • The value for price paid

According to analysis by J.D. Power and Associates, hotel guests who experienced one or more problems during their stay rate their overall experience lower than those that did not report having any problems (74.9 vs. 61.2 percent). This may seem obvious. Poor television reception, a noisy A/C unit, or a missed wakeup call are certain to have a negative impact on how you feel about your stay when you respond to the survey.

But not everyone who has a problem is destined to give a low rating. The determining factor is not whether you had the problem, but how the hotel’s staff made you feel about how the problem was addressed and resolved.

For example, if the hotel scores a “perfect 10” for problem resolution, overall satisfaction for the entire stay is higher than for guests who never experienced a problem to begin with. Do a poor job fixing the problem, however, and overall satisfaction drops below 60 percent!

So, while it pays to resolve guest complaints quickly and efficiently, according to research only 15 percent of guests felt that their hotel’s staff had resolved the problem perfectly, compared to nearly half who expressed outright displeasure at the staff’s problem resolution skills.

How well-prepared are your employees to effectively address and resolve the inevitable problems that your customers will encounter?

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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