At Well House Manor
, we're here to supply a service to customers. And the customer is King ... But even the King has to follow some rules
There are certain requests that we really cannot meet - the most extreme example I have personally had was a request for us to accept just twenty five pounds for a twin room, including breakfast.
Some of these requests will be try-ons. There's one woman I know who routinely complains about her room at every hotel she stays in in order to get an upgrade, and isn't against telling a few lies to help her case (she has never stayed with us, by the way!). Others will ask about something in all innocence, just wondering if we can help (a bar for example) and others may make an assumption that we offer a particular service when we can't - for example they might want their 12 year old to join them in a family room for the last night of their stay, but our insurance doesn't cover under 14s.
And it's always difficult - very difficult - faced with a customer and saying "Sorry - No". So here are three things to help:
a) We have a load of policies. And it requires at least TWO people to make a decision against a policy. So if the person on check out, alone, is faced with a customer who has a normal, payment on departure arrangement but is asked if it's OK for payment to be made next week, then the answer has to be "Sorry - no". And a phone call to Graham or Lisa if the customer would like to take it further. Even the MD [Graham] phones through and speaks with Lisa ... or Chris or someone in such a circumstance. This gives our staff the authority of the company, and doesn't lessen their position; the person getting you call will know full well the situation you're in "at the sharp end" and is there to HELP.
b) Know the policies, and know the REASON behind the policies, and explain them. "No - you need to pay when you leave. I know you are booked in again next week, but our cancellation policy allows you to change that booking and not come up to 11 a.m. on the morning. It's much clearer for everyone if each visit is paid separately. Customer are far happier if they no the reasons.
c) Offer sympathy / suggest an alternative. "We can't put your clothes through our laundry as there would be an insurance issue if they got damaged - and we're not trained as laundrymen. However, there's a laundrette in Melksham - I can tell you where - or we may be able to get them sent out for you".
As a follow up thought, here's a random list of policies that we have ... and everyone should be aware of.
* How late can I cancel?
* Can I check in early?
* Can you send the bill on?
* Can I have breakfast at 5 a.m.
* Can you get me a taxi to the airport?
* A lift to the station?
* Can I have a different room?
* Do you take Euros?
* I've got a meeting - can I come back and collect my belongings later?
* Can I meet with my customers in your lounge?
* Can you put a cot in the room for my baby?
* Can I order an evening meal?
Some - such as the laundry - are new questions that come from the blue. Try also
* Can I leave my car here until next week?
* Can I have a hire car delivered?
* Can I keep my medical samples in your freezer? (written 2009-01-13)
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