“The customer is not always right, but your job is never to show them how they’re wrong. Your job is to be professional, courteous, accommodating … even (and especially) under stress.”
--- Steve Dorfman, Driven to Excel
The consumer is always right, isn’t it?
For decades, companies have been doing their best to ensure that their customers are 100% satisfied. Many hotels adopted the “100% Satisfaction Guarantee” policy that comes with a 100% refund if customers are not 100% happy. There is nothing wrong with companies putting the customer first, but is it now the time to revisit such a policy?
Is the 100% satisfaction guarantee policy dated?
That should not be a concern if few customers abuse the policy. In today’s marketplace, however, such a satisfaction promise has led to more discontent among hotels and customers (Franch, 2022). Plus, service providers in the hospitality and tourism industry must deal with more demanding customers with a smaller workforce now, a situation that is unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future (Kwok, 2022).
Hotel satisfaction is at an all-time low.
Customer complaints are soaring. At the same time, consumer satisfaction score had dropped to 71 in 2022, down from the peak of 77 in 2012, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Travel Study.
How does such a policy not guarantee customer satisfaction?
When consumers know that their expectations are not met, they will complain and ask for a refund. Over time, the industry has trained travelers to believe that complaining equals compensation. Some customers would always look for something wrong to point out and do so in a very disrespectful manner. Such a refund policy also adds a burden to a business when wages and inflation are already at a record high.
The Hampton by Hilton has updated the policy.
Hampton by Hilton was perceived as the first-ever hotel chain that offered a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee policy tied with a full refund, even before Hilton acquired the hotel chain in 1999. Now, while “100% Hampton Guarantee” stays in Hampton, Hilton has removed the refund language.
Does your company have a 100% satisfaction guarantee policy tied with a full refund too? Is it time to revisit the policy?
Franch, Sally (2022, July 6). How a hotel satisfaction promise had led to more disconnect. ABC News.
Kwok, Linchi (2022). Labor shortage: A critical reflection and a call for industry-academia collaboration. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.