The Cost of a Negative Guest Experience

The cost of a negative customer or guest service experience can be staggering to a business. According to an American Express survey in 2011,
  • 78% of customers who are involved in a transaction and have a negative service experience will stop the transaction and walk away without making a purchase,
  • 58% of guests who have a negative service experience will never make a purchase with that company again,
  • 65% of guests are likely to tell others about their negative experience according to a Harvard business review. We all know first hand the power of reputation and the word of mouth when it comes to making future purchases.
As we have all personally experienced the emotional effect of a negative service experience and its lasting influences on your perspective on how you feel about that company, if you will ever try to do business with that company again, and what you tell others about that company. When training my teams, I always make sure that they know that it’s never about if they make a mistake with a guest, but when they make a mistake with a guest and the most important thing is how they fix that mistake. Even though the guest is not always right, the guest must always be satisfied because if they walk out not satisfied, they will tell people about their experience.
Guest service is a perception and whether we like it or not, the only perception that matters is the guest’s perception. I like to train my organizations by the credo, “The noble oblige,” which means simply the guest isn’t always right, but the guest must be satisfied. Some of the companies that I do a lot of business with started out as a negative service experience, but the way that they fixed it and resolved my issues went above and beyond my expectations and I became a guest or client of theirs for life.

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