For those of you who don’t know, back in the day I worked for a large American Corporation as a Customer Experience agent on the Spanish market. Because this was a few years back, I gotta be honest, I totally forgot about this until yesterday.

I only worked for two years and three months at this company, but believe you me, this was plenty of time to go through a lot of experiences and situations that I never thought I’d have to face.  

Getting back to the actual story, first of all, what you need to know is that the case itself from the very beginning started on the wrong foot. This customer, a host, called because he had some doubts about an upcoming reservation. Keep in mind, the check-in date was later on, a week from the day he called if I remember correctly.

The host starts to explain that this guest has changed the check-in date a few times already in the past week with no good reason. He kept accepting and now she made another modification and he didn’t know if he should accept it or not. Why was this an issue you ask? Because in the past there were guests who would change the check-in date just so they can benefit from a flexible cancellation policy and receive the full accommodation fees back, which means basically the full refund.

Not even gonna try to lie here, this was a tricky case. We didn’t have any workflow for this situation. My approach was to be mindful and understanding of the host’s concerns, and explain to him that we cannot assume that this particular gust will cancel or is going to be problematic. Furthermore, I told the host that he has two options at this moment: to accept or decline the change the guest wants to make. Also I advised the host to communicate with the guest about this matter. This way he might be able to understand why the guest has to make these changes.

Remember when I said the case started on the wrong foot? Well, this is where the case takes a turn for the worst out of nowhere. The host doesn’t like the resolution I provided so he starts to get upset and frustrated. He then says „What if now I want to cancel this reservation? Would I be penalized?” My answer was polite and at the same time firm because that would have meant a cancellation from the host side with all the penalties attached (which he knew about).

The situation escalated because he now felt that we don’t protect the hosts enough and we don’t care about what happens in these types of situations. I empathized with what he said because I truly didn’t think this was fair, taking into consideration past experiences that he talked about.

Hearing that he was getting more and more aggravated about this I asked him to let me talk so I can explain what we can go ahead and do. I mentioned again the possibility to accept or decline the request. Going forward I said that if the guest doesn’t agree with the outcome, she is the one who has to cancel or contact us and explain the reason behind the cancellation. Doing so, she will have to cancel with the cancellation policy the host had in place and he will not have any penalties. I assured him that we will be there to help and that he can call us at any time if this particular guest will try to change the check-in date again.

I also took the liberty to advise the host to change the cancellation policy and choose another one if he feels like too many quests are taking advantage of this, blocking his calendar and then cancel the reservation one day before the check-in.

Now I don’t know what happened, because after this he became very polite and very friendly. Maybe too friendly. We had a few laughs, and then out of the blue he asked me what my name was again, where I was from, personal questions that had nothing to do with the case at hand. But I did answer because any customer who wants to know with whom they are speaking to and where they called, they have the right to know.

He then proceeds to tell me that he fell in love with my voice in the 15 minutes conversation we had and he wanted to know if I can give him my number so we can talk in private on WhatsApp. At that moment I thanked God for the mute button because I was laughing through my ears and I didn’t know how to react. Of course I told him that this will not be possible because it’s inappropriate and unprofessional to give my number to a customer. Was he satisfied with the answer? Well of course not.

He says he is no longer a customer, because I solved his issue. And because he knew the call was recorded, he then says he gives my company permission for me to take his number from the platform so I can write to him in private.

I thanked him for his kind words and said it was a pleasure to help him and then closed the call and the case as well. As most of you know, in Call Centers, the customers send feedback once the case is closed. Needless to say, two days after the case closed I got a 10 from this host with a nice comment saying that I solved his issue. I had to show this to my Manager at the time and he said I was very smart for not taking any action because just a few months back someone in the company was immediately fired because of a similar situation.

I call this a blast from the past.

Let me know in the comment section if you have a story that other people should read about.

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