Just a Spoonful of Sugar

by Chris Bjorklund

It’s amazing how some consumer complaints can easily be resolved when a responsive provider does something a little extra and unexpected. That was my experience on our first family vacation since the pandemic began.

The Airbnb we booked was well-equipped and we were looking forward to using the washer and dryer after a week on the road. When the dryer knob wouldn’t budge, I texted the host about it. He responded within 30 minutes and suggested some things to try. Without prompting, he followed up a few hours later. He said he would have someone come over and check it out if we still couldn’t get it working. I appreciated his responsiveness even though I was able to unstick the knob after several tries.

I had another consumer problem at a big resort hotel in West Virginia. The first morning, my husband and I were awakened by a pounding sound overhead at 7:30am. The noise echoed throughout the hallway for a full hour. Since I didn’t want to spend time complaining on vacation (or losing sleep!), I just had to let the manager know about this. As it turned out, he was aware of the problem and thanked me for adding to the list of complaints from other guests. He promised to let his construction supervisor know right away. To my surprise, the manager offered us a complimentary breakfast the next morning in the main dining room. That was a real treat and we left the resort with a good feeling about the place and the service.

Bottom line: A spoonful of positive response can turn an unhappy customer into a repeat customer.