When the customer is not always right

You know the old saying, the customer is always right?

I’m a firm believer that that is not always true. In fact, sometimes it’s patently false. 

Case in point. 

I had a guest check in last week. Arrived without any problems, everything seemed hunky-dory. 

Then I get a text from him asking to raise the heat. Ok, no problem, he could have done it himself, but I also have remote access, so I raise it to 76 for him. 

A few minutes later he messages again. “Can you turn it up to 85?” 

“Are you sure?” I asked him. “85 is really hot.” He insisted that he was sure. So I raised it to 85. 

About an hour later, I got another message from him. “We’re still cold,” he said. “Can you raise it to 92?”

Are you kidding me?? No one in their right minds needs the thermostat set to 92 degrees. Something about this was starting to sound really weird to me. So I politely told him that, unfortunately, we were already outside the window we normally allow guests to set the temperature, so I wouldn’t be raising the central heat any more. However, if he was still cold we had plenty of blankets and space heaters he could use. 

Then I went to sleep. Around midnight I got another text from him. “Hey it’s really hot. Could you lower the temperature?” 

Well, gee. No surprise there. What did you expect when you wanted the temperature to be in the nineties?? 

This story illustrates an important aspect of hosting in my mind. 

Customer service is, of course, a critically important aspect of this business. But good customer service doesn’t always mean kowtowing to a guest’s every whim.

Sometimes people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. And sometimes what they think they want isn’t really what they want. 

As the professional, it’s your job to draw the line on what’s acceptable and what isn’t acceptable with your guests. It’s your job to decide what requests you will accept and what you will deny. And if you decide to accept the request, it’s your job to do it with a good attitude. If you didn’t want to do it you should not have said yes. I’m so tired of hosts saying yes to a nitpicky guest’s every whim and then complaining about it online! 

Remember that you are the businessperson here. You get to decide what’s ok and what’s not ok. And once you’ve decided, stick with it. Don’t let someone bully you into doing something you don’t want to do. You may find out, in the end, it wasn’t actually what they wanted, either ;).