Big or small a service business’ only goal is to provide exceptional service

Staying at a sprawling apartment for like half the cost can be every traveler’s dream. But what if there’s no wi-fi or cellular network? For someone like me, it’s a major buzzkill.

Imagine living in a blackhole, away from your family and loved ones. Unable to connect with them. Heck, unable to even place a food order! I’ve been literally relying on Uber (and I’m only able to book them when I’m well outside the apartment complex) to take me places, including eateries!

Now, the best thing to do in such a situation is to express the concern as is to the owner or the host, which I did. And it was a disaster of sorts. She got offended and accused me of complaining despite that I checked in 12 hours early (I did, but only after having a confirmation from her) and the fact that I’m living in such an apartment. I couldn’t help but scratch my head. What’s going on here? Does he understand’s what living in a Black Hole is like? Speaking of which, the words “black hole” might have trigged an emotional response causing her to retaliate in a tone that was nothing short of condescending. (She even spoke about her “elite status” during the conversation.)

Thankfully, my better sense advised me to just keep my mouth shut and let her hyperventilate. Post which, I explained how frustrating it has been and my plea was to simply look for an alternate solution. I tried to convince her that my “feelings” were just that and definitely not a fact. Good job until now.

We hung up. But she left me analysing about the whole concept of a service business, irrespective of the status of the business — independent or a bigger network (AirBnB in this case):

  1. The amount one is paying has absolutely no correlation to the amenities offered. Things like wireless, hot water, a good shower head, a simple bucket, a water filter and a decent cellular network are just the basics. Of course, you don’t have any control over the cellular network but you certainly can install a broadband connection. It literally costs nothing these days.
  2. Just because you’re paying a lower price compared to other similar facility doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to raise concerns or express your frustrations. Who else are you going to share those concerns? Social media? It’s idiotic to think “how can they complain for the puny amount they’re paying to stay?” The price point wasn’t set by the customer but by the host.
  3. If accepting feedback is an issue — service business isn’t for you. You’ll be criticised in public or privately. That’s something one has to be mentally ready with. While I don’t believe “customer is the king,” I do think customers have the right to share honest feedback and that should be taken seriously. Not personally. As a client, we don’t give a hoot how much in love are you with your own property. If it doesn’t serve our purpose, it’s not good enough. For us. As an owner or host, your responsibility is to listen and implement.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t able to sleep well last night. This dialog had been a dominant thought all along. While I’ll make sure to pass on my feedback to the host, I also understand that I’m risking a complete ban or perhaps a lower rating on the platform. But I think it’ll be worth the temporary setback.

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