Customer Relations

So, obviously, there is a big difference between working at a large retailer and working at a hotel.  The biggest one being that after I deal with a guest I don’t like at the hotel, I typically have to see them a few more times before my shift is over.  Thankfully I don’t have to see them when they leave, though.  Because quite frankly, some of them I think I would punch in the face if I had to see them at my desk again.

And sometimes that does happen, they will continually call me or come to the desk with a complaint or concern and I just bite my tongue and put on a smile like I always do.

Recently the biggest concern had been the recent flood waters coming toward us here in Western Nebraska from Colorado.  We weren’t anticipating it reaching our hotel, or really on our side of the interstate, but it was still a possibility.  It was the other side of the interstate that was the issue.  We were prepared anyway, but people of course were panicking and scared and in their flurry of panic, it was panicking me a bit.  I hate that.

I worked as a panic bomb diffuser all that night.  Some people didn’t believe me and wanted to have a refund right away,but I wouldn’t give them one and kept reassuring them that we weren’t going to flood, but that if we did everything would be taken care of properly and blah blah.

Thankfully the flood water wasn’t as bad as we were expecting and to my knowledge no businesses, houses, or otherwise were damaged.  We had some overflow into some fields and because of a bad storm we had the night the flood waters came in, some streets still have quite a lot of standing water, but nothing too disruptive, but because of the possible contaminants in the flood water we obviously still don’t want people near that water.

But that’s off topic.

I’ve found that a lot of what I learned and did at the retailer affects how I react to people at the hotel.  I have learned not to show much emotion when someone is upset about something I cannot and will not change.  People constantly argue with me over room rates and why they’re so high.  I’ve learned to just shrug and say “I’m sorry, that’s the way it is, there’s nothing I can do about it.  You do have other options here in town, but we are one of the cheaper options for you.”  Which, probably really isn’t as true as I say, but sometimes that comforts people and most people don’t want to get back in their car and look around.

Many times I’ve found myself showing fake concern when a guest comes to me with a problem.  “Oh no you blew a breaker in your room?  Darn electrical, let me just run upstairs and flip the switch for you.”  And then I’ll run upstairs with a smile on my face and act like it was no big deal that they decided to run their microwave, hairdryer and charge their phone all at the same time.

Which, I suppose in reality shouldn’t flip a breaker, but it happens, so people need to keep that shit in mind when they’re in a building that looks as old as it is.

I don’t bat an eye anymore when people argue with me over petty things.  I just stand there and hear them out whether they are on the phone or face to face with me and then I tell them how it is and stand my ground without getting angry with them.  At least I try.  Sometimes I snap like the time I called a woman a bitch to her face at the store.  She really made me feel threatened and I wasn’t about to back down at that point.

There are times though, that on the phone with potential hotel guests I will pull the phone away from my ear and throttle the phone in hopes it will transfer through the wires and signals and reach them.

It doesn’t work, but I’m sure someone is working on that technology, right?  It would be rather useful to send a digital strangling, right?

Advertisements

Sorry I Was Talking While You Were Interrupting

Image

This happens to me every single day at work.  Without fail.  It only happens with guests I’m talking to on the phone, too.  I don’t know if there’s a delay on their end or not, but it’s really irritating.  They ask me a question and I start to answer, and as I’m answering they ask me the exact same question again.

Uhm, okay.  I’m trying to tell you.

Just now I had someone do that to me.

Guest: I’d like to make a reservation
Me: Alright, will that be for tonight?
Guest: Yes, for tonight.
Me: Okay, let me get this pulled up on the computer.  How many adults will be staying?
Guest: Three.  There will be three adults.
Me: Alright, ma’am, the cost of the room for the night would be $89 plus tax.
Guest: That’s with tax?
Me: No ma’am, that is $89 plus tax which would ma–
Guest: How much is it with tax?
Me: With the ta–
Guest: How much would I be paying?!
Me: *trying to not scream into the phone* After tax it would be $101.46
Guest: *a moment of silence* Okay.  Thank. You. *click*

And that’s what gets me.  I have no problem when people call to ask the rate first.  That’s cool, know what you’re getting into before you have your sights set on making a reservation.  But when you call and say you want to make a reservation right away without knowing ANYTHING about the price then you have the fucking nerve to get mad at ME for it?  No.

No, you can find yourself another over-priced hotel to stay at because I don’t want to deal with your bitchy self.

It’s one thing when you have a bad signal and you call.  That’s another thing.  If you know you’re in a bad area or you have bad reception.  Just wait.  Just wait to call or do it in advance.  If you’re travelling you should automatically know that you will probably experience shitty cell reception 50% of your trip if not more. That’s just how it goes.

But if you’re going to constantly interrupt me when I know that I am actually talking loudly and clearly, then I automatically shut down and don’t want anything to do with you.  It takes all my strength to continue being a sweet and charming girl once you have done that kind of thing to me.

If any of these people saw me in person, then I know they would automatically hate me because I show my irritation very plainly on my face.  I quite frequently air strangle people on the phone or flip them off.  Sometimes it just can’t be contained, my rage.

If people would just chill out for ten seconds on the phone, then they would get a decent answer out of me and then everyone would be happy!  God forbid everyone leave a situation satisfied.  It’s like sex, sometimes you just don’t get what you want.

The Pool is Optional

When I was small, my father worked in the hotel business.  I was too young to understand anything other than what was placed right in front of me at that point in time.  Now I understand how frustrating of a business it is no matter what your job title is with the hotel.

The hotel I work at is one of the few with a pool, let alone an indoor pool, so that’s always a big ticket item and it’s why a lot of people choose to stay at our hotel in the summer.  I mean, even as a kid travelling with my parents, I remember hoping beyond hope that each place we stopped at would have a pool, because there’s nothing cooler than getting to swim at a pool that isn’t where you normally go swim at!

It’s one thing when it’s a disappointment to the kids that the pool is closed for maintenance or bad weather.  They will pout and get over it within a few minutes.  It’s another when it’s an adult upset about it.  They assume that just because they’re adults and they’re paying for a room that that gives them the right to use the pool.

First of all, a hotel having a pool is an added, optional amenity.  Second of all, it doesn’t matter if it’s a pool set outdoors or indoors, if there is lightning in the area, the pool will be closed because I’m not risking my job or the hotel’s reputation because I let you guys swim and the building to hit with lightning.  NEWS FLASH! The building gets struck by lightning?  Guess where all of those toasty electrical currents are headed?  That’s right, straight for your fat ass floating around the pool.  Nuh, uh.  You can go sit in your bathtub if you want to be in the water during bad weather.  At least then it’s not my or the hotel’s responsibility when you turn out to be a bit fried.

Yeah, swim at your own risk, but I’m still responsible for the guests in my hotel during my shift and I really don’t feel like calling 911 or filling out incident reports and getting all these people involved.  Not worth it, thanks.  I get paid to get you a room, answer your questions, and give you some extra towels or a toothbrush.  I don’t get paid to clean up your dumbass mess.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a person demand a discount because the pool was closed or the hot tub was out of order.  No, I’m not discounting your room because we have a severe thunderstorm, and no I’m not discounting your room because the hot tub randomly decided to shut off.  Those are things we can’t predict.  It’s not like a car lot having a hail sale after a storm.  Let me just send out flier for our “Lightning Storm Room Discount.”  I can get those to press before the storm passes, right?

I even had one lady ask me if I “planned” on having severe weather when they got there.  It took a lot of will power to bite my tongue and not respond with “Oh, yes, ma’am, we should see a pretty nasty system rolling in around 7:13pm, around the time you estimate you will be arriving at my lovely establishment.”

Instead, I sarcastically said “Well, no one really plans on bad weather, but there are predictions for it in our area, and if it happens to come through around that time, the pool will be close and no one can use it.”

One night while storms were rolling in and out of the area I had one kid pester the ever-living hell out of me about the pool.  I was about to phone up his parents in the room, where they were, not watching their kid, and tell them to pick up their kid.  The mother finally came down and used the lobby computer for a while and then herded him back up the room when she was finished.  I was thankful for that.

Then a group of teenagers the same night kept pestering me, too.  Out of sheer annoyance, even after the threat of severe weather passed, I kept the pool closed because I was so damn pissed off about being bugged so much.  Plus, I didn’t feel like tracking these people down to tell them it was open.  There was no point in opening the pool for that last half hour anyway.  All they would have done is bitched and moaned that I had to close the pool while they were still having fun.

Other people like to moan about it being “too cold” and “why isn’t it heated?” Uhm, first of all it’s 102 outside and you want a heated pool? Are you fucking nuts?  Second of all, the water is room temperature at all times, grow a pair and jump in.  It’s not like you’re jumping into the Colorado River of Icy Doom.  Shit, that water is even still cold as it cycles down into New Braunfels.  Bone-chillingly so.

I cannot wait until it’s closed for the season.  Then again, I’ll have to listen to the “isn’t it heated?” complaint all over again.