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Devote readers of my garden will know I ski bum instead of a proper job. In my training, I learned about LAST de escalation/conflict resolution, and thought it was actually notable enough to write down, unlike the rest of my training.

L: Listen

Actively listen to guest concerns by giving them your full attention so that you understand the issue & their feelings.

  • If you look distracted, the guest may feel ignored or become more upset
    • If you are actually distracted, you won’t understand what their complaint or issue is really about
  • Don’t interrupt or debate; listen to understand & empathize, not to plan your reply or a rebuttal
  • Paraphrase their comments to show you’ve heard what they’re saying

A: Apologize

Offer a genuine apology without excuses to show you understand their concern.

  • Saying sorry shows the guest that we take ownership of the issue
  • It’s an opportunity to tell the guest “We can do better”
  • Simple apologies can validate their feelings (but don’t condone bad behavior)
  • Explain the rule/policy, but don’t defend it; you’re unlikely to change their mind

S: Solve

Engage the guest in solving the problem in a way that satisfies them and is appropriate for the company.

  • Take (or commit to taking) action
  • Be collaborative & offer options
  • Resist the urge to say no; turn no into yes & be creative with solutions (that are proportionate to the issue)
  • Leave the guest happy and wanting to return

T: Thank

Sincerely thank the guest for letting us know about their concern and reiterate your commitment to the resolution.

  • Thanking someone for complaining may seem strange, but it’s an essential step
  • A guest telling us about an issue is an opportunity to improve and prevent the issue for future guests
  • They could say nothing & simply take their business elsewhere
  • Thanking a guest for complying with a rule or policy can calmly end the situation