Tammy Levent | May 23, 2016 12:00 PM ET
Avoiding The Blame Game
Dear Tammy: My clients were heading to the Caribbean for a 10-day vacation and blamed me when the airline was delayed! I didn’t even really know what to say. It was a direct flight, so as soon as they got on board, they arrived at their destination and the vacation was perfect, but how should I react to that?
Tammy: Hopefully you never have to experience that again, but let’s face it; humans play the blame game all the time. Someone burns something on the stove and they blame the spouse who hasn’t helped in the kitchen, but who had nothing to do with the cooking. Sound familiar?
Your clients needed a place to vent their frustration and they, unfortunately, took it out on you. Travel agents can get blamed for a variety of things they do not control, including the weather! But the reality is that your clients know you didn’t cause whatever they are venting about, but they spent their hard-working money on a vacation and they want to make sure it’s perfect. When something goes wrong, who are they going to get mad at? The bellboy? Nope, they are going to get mad at you because you are their travel agent.
Honestly, try not to take any of it to heart. Unless you did something that really was your fault — and if so, you should own up to it — don’t take responsibility for something you did not do. Instead, tell your clients that you understand their concerns and ask them if there is anything you can do to make it better.
Of course, you can’t control the weather – and if you can, call me – but maybe they are miserable because it is unbearably hot and they chose a room that only comes with a ceiling fan. One solution would be to talk to the resort manager and see about switching to a room that has an air conditioner.
There are solutions to just about everything if you think hard enough. Put your emotions aside and calmly listen to your clients. What are they really complaining about? Listen past the fact that they are venting to you and find out what is really bothering them. At the same time, do not challenge what they are saying and make sure that you do not respond with any type of emotion.
Most importantly, remember that it is your responsibility to help your clients have the best possible experience they can. Work hard for them and they will also tell their friends and family what a great job you did too.
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