I‘m sitting in a hotel lobby…early Sunday morning. All of a sudden, I hear a commotion at the front desk. “What do you mean I can’t cash a check? I’m an ‘honors’ member. I do it all the time. It’s only $100!”

The startled desk clerk, Rosie, responds with the standard “it’s our policy” schtick, but the guest isn’t buying it at all.

“Who wrote that policy? Do they understand customer service?”

“Well,” the clerk offers, “the general manager is new. And I don’t like his policies any more than you do. But I don’t want to get in trouble.”

The unrelenting guest continues, “I want to speak with the general manager pronto.”

Rosie suggests that she might be able to get the general manager to meet the now furious guest in the dining room. As the guest moves away, the panic stricken Rosie calls in for help from the front desk manager.

“I have an unhappy guest, but I think I made it worse. I really said some stupid stuff about the boss and now the guest wants to speak with him. What should I do?”

Ten minutes later, I notice the front desk manager in the breakfast area smoothing things over. During the conversation, there was an exchange of cash for a check.

PROBLEM averted…at least for the time being.

As I wondered about this situation, I heard Rosie tell another guest that she couldn’t allow a late checkout because “the GM was trying to save some money by reducing the hours of the housekeepers.”

Policy or no policy, fact or fiction…it seems this desk clerk handles problems by throwing her management team under the bus. The tire tracks stay fresh.

How often does that happen in your business?

Up the line or down the line, do you and your team leave tire tracks?

It’s mostly innocent, but it leaves a lasting impression on your clients. They wonder what you say about them when they’re not around.

Besides, who likes looking over their shoulder all the time?

Plus, there’s an easy solution. It’s as simple as teaching a standard response when you’re faced with someone else’s problem…a problem you can’t solve on your own…or a situation that needs to be escalated.

Script it.

It might go something like this…

“You’re right, there seems to be a problem. No worries, I’ll check with (responsible party) and one of us will get back to you in (a reasonable response time). Will that be okay?”

Give it a try…

And no one goes under the bus.

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