3rd September 2010

Comments & Complaints – a Checklist

We all like to receive positive feedback, as very often it comes from exceeding customer’s expectations - but we don’t always like to blow our own trumpet. On the other end of the spectrum people are always more likely to complain than they are to compliment! However, showing that you care enough to respond is important. No-one likes to receive a complaint but very often following simple steps can make sure that the situation is dealt with swiftly and the guest can be satisfied that you have listened and responded to their concerns.


  • Make sure that you have a comments book open for visitors to write in (and don’t forget to leave a pen close by!)
  • Make sure that you also add these comments to your own website – you can add them yourself or you could consider an interactive element i.e. ask visitors to your website to submit their own comments directly to the site (you can check them before they go live!)
  • If you’re leafing through your comments book and adding quotes to your website yourself, consider adding the name of your guests and the date that they stayed to add credibility.
  • Remember to update your client testimonials regularly – if the last comment on your website is from a few months ago it could raise the question ‘why haven’t they received any more recent positive comments?’
  • If you struggle to get client comments ask yourself why – perhaps you could incentivise a customer survey.
  • As you may know, www.tripadvisor.co.uk is a holiday review website where guests can post comments about their accommodation. Consider adding your business to the website but make sure you check it regularly so that you can respond, either by thanking guests for their comments or investigating any negative feedback.

Shropshire Tourism has added a new ‘What Our Clients Say’ section on http://www.stmem.com/ so that our testimonials and reviews are organised more clearly. Why not take a look and if you would like to add your own comment email enquiries@shropshiretourism.co.uk


  • The customer is NOT always right but they ARE still a customer
  • If you receive a complaint count to ten!
  • Don’t take the complaint personally as this can make you over sensitive to criticism
  • Take a step back and ask yourself objectively – is their complaint reasonable? Complaints often arise from a customer’s disappointment. Have you failed to meet their expectations?
  • Let the guest have his or her say and remain polite and friendly
  • Ask questions to clarify any points if necessary e.g. ‘Can I just clarify how long you had to wait for your meal?’
  • Summarise the problem to ensure you have understood their complaint correctly e.g. ‘So you had to wait 40 minutes for your meal’
  • Resolve the situation if possible, but if you can’t resolve it then be honest about it
  • Take notes and record the complaint
  • If you receive a letter or email complaint after the event - acknowledge it as soon as possible. However, you may like to draft your written response and then look at it with a fresh pair of eyes the next day before actually sending it!
  • Don’t sit on a complaint and hope that it will go away. If you don’t have time to deal with it straight away give them a date by which you will respond – and make sure that you do.

Remember, three quarters of visitors to Shropshire return to the county so a happy guest may well come back and they may well also promote your business to their friends and family. An unhappy guest may never return and might also advise others to follow suit.


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