Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Brandon: Hi everybody! Brandon here!
Becky: And I’m Becky. Welcome back to EnglishClass101.com. This is Hospitality English for Hotels Season 2 Lesson 10 - Calming Down an Angry Customer
Brandon: In this lesson you will learn how to calm down an angry, yelling or abusive customer.
Becky: This conversation takes place at the front desk in the late evening.
Brandon: It’s between a staff member and a guest.
Becky: The speakers are in a professional relationship, so they’ll be using formal English. Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Customer: This is ridiculous! I'm allergic to smoke! That’s why I reserved a non-smoking room! You obviously put me in a smoking room! There is an ashtray on the nightstand and I can already barely breathe!
Staff: Hello sir, I am very sorry for the mistake. We must have made a mistake and overlooked the non-smoking preference.
Customer: (louder voice) HOW COULD YOU OVERLOOK THAT?! ARE YOU STUPID?
Staff: Sir, I apologize for the mistake, and I want to make this right for you, but I can not assist you unless you are willing to work with me at least a little bit. Would you mind working with me to find a solution that you consider satisfactory?
Customer: Fine, but this is a bit ridiculous...
Staff: What can we do to make it right?
Customer: Well for one, I would like the non-smoking room I asked for...
Staff: I understand, how about I upgrade you to a non-smoking suite as our way of apologizing for the inconvenience.
Customer: Oh wow! Thank you very much for taking care of me. I apologize for yelling earlier.
Becky: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Customer: This is ridiculous! I'm allergic to smoke! That’s why I reserved a non-smoking room! You obviously put me in a smoking room! There is an ashtray on the nightstand and I can already barely breathe!
Staff: Hello sir, I am very sorry for the mistake. We must have made a mistake and overlooked the non-smoking preference.
Customer: HOW COULD YOU OVERLOOK THAT?! ARE YOU STUPID?
Staff: Sir, I apologize for the mistake, and I want to make this right for you, but I can not assist you unless you are willing to work with me at least a little bit. Would you mind working with me to find a solution that you consider satisfactory?
Customer: Fine, but this is a bit ridiculous...
Staff: What can we do to make it right?
Customer: Well for one, I would like the non-smoking room I asked for...
Staff: I understand, how about I upgrade you to a non-smoking suite as our way of apologizing for the inconvenience.
Customer: Oh wow! Thank you very much for taking care of me. I apologize for yelling earlier.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Brandon: In the dialogue, the staff member was trying to take responsibility for assigning the wrong room.
Becky: That’s right. Sometimes, as you saw in the dialogue, when you point out that it was a blatant mistake, customers will get upset.
Brandon: Exactly. Customers don’t like to feel ignored, and overlooking an expressed preference usually leads to this kind of problem.
Becky: Never forget that guests don’t usually care why something went wrong. They just want to know how you’re going to fix it.
Brandon: Okay, now let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
VOCAB LIST
Becky: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
: The first word we shall see is:
Brandon: obviously [natural native speed]
Becky: easily noticed
Brandon: obviously [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Brandon: obviously [natural native speed]
: Next:
Brandon: How about [natural native speed]
Becky: what do you think
Brandon: How about [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Brandon: How about [natural native speed]
: Next:
Brandon: breathe [natural native speed]
Becky: inhale and exhale
Brandon: breathe [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Brandon: breathe [natural native speed]
: Next:
Brandon: overlook [natural native speed]
Becky: to not see, to miss
Brandon: overlook [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Brandon: overlook [natural native speed]
: Next:
Brandon: preference [natural native speed]
Becky: desire, wish, request
Brandon: preference [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Brandon: preference [natural native speed]
: And Last:
Brandon: with [natural native speed]
Becky: together
Brandon: with [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Brandon: with [natural native speed]
KEY VOCABULARY AND PHRASES
Becky: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Brandon: First up, we’re going to look at the word "with." as used in the dialogue.
Becky: That’s right. In the dialogue, the staff member said the word "with" with special emphasis. She did this to help communicate that she wanted to help the guest, but she needed the customer to calm down and work with her. Be careful if you do this though, as too much emphasis sounds rude.
Brandon: The next phrase we’re going to look at is "How about."
Becky: Now, the phrase "how about" has a very similar feeling to "what do you think about" or "what about." The idea is that you’re asking the opinion of the person you're talking to.
Brandon: That’s right. For example, "How about we go to the lake this weekend?" In this example, the phrase "how about" is used to ask what the person thinks about going to the lake this weekend.
Becky: Okay, now onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Brandon: In this lesson, you’ll learn about calming a customer down.
Becky: In the dialogue we heard the phrase, "how could you overlook that! Are you stupid?"
Brandon: Most complaints are usually pretty easy to resolve. However some customers can become rude and even abusive.
Becky: When a customer has reached this stage of being so angry, there’s usually not much you can do to resolve the issue. You have to calm them down first.
Brandon: We have three tips for helping to calm the customer down.
Becky: And then we have one exception to those tips.
Brandon: That’s right! Tip number one, listen to the customer and make sure you fully understand the complaint.
Becky: The tip here is to not ask them to repeat the issue as this will probably make them even more angry. Instead, tell them, in your own words, your understanding of the situation and then ask them for confirmation.
Brandon: Exactly! So for example, you could say something like “I’m very sorry for this sir. So the problem is that you’re in a smoking room when you reserved a non-smoking room and it's making it difficult for you to breathe. Let’s see what we can do to resolve this?"
Becky: Perfect. Tip number two is to accept the responsibility for whatever has gone wrong. And, this is an important ‘and’, tell the customer that you accept it.
Brandon: That’s right. Often part of the reason guests are so angry is because they think the hotel will not accept responsibility for the error. By telling the guest up front that you accept responsibility for the error, you can often calm them down quickly.
Becky: Yes. And you can do this by saying something like "I apologize for that sir. We must have made a mistake."
Brandon: Okay now tip number three is that you deal with the complaint as quickly as possible.
Becky: But don’t talk too quickly and get to the point. But having an urgent tone of voice and speaking a little bit faster than normal will unconsciously let the guests know that you think their complaint is important.
Brandon: Try saying something like "I will take care of this right away."
Becky: Now, our exception here with these tips is that if something goes wrong, or if you’re inexperienced or you’re just not the right person to handle the problem, don’t be afraid to simply refer the guest to a coworker or to your manager.
Brandon: Often, in these situations,not being able to communicate or work with the customer will just make the issue worse.
Becky: Now, you can do this by saying something like "I understand the issue sir, Please let me get my manage so we can work with you to resolve this issue quickly."

Outro

Brandon: Well, that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening!
Becky: And we’ll see ya next time! Bye!

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What's your tip to calm down angry customers?