My partner and I decided to book a week away. Nothing particular, just a week away to reconnect with ourselves and each other. We decided to book through airbnb. We found a lovely little place on a small island. We were feeling slightly smug that we’d planned and booked the holiday well in advance.
Then my partner received the curtesy email from airbnb, a week before our planned departure. He clicked on the link showing the route from airport to accommodation. It was then that we realised we were booked to stay on a different island to the one we were flying to. We had confused islands. My partner contacted the place we were staying and tried to cancel the booking explaining our mistake. No luck. So we decided to contact airbnb direct. As I dialled the telephone number, my partner muttered doubt in us getting a positive response. An automated voice said the current waiting time was THIRTY minutes. My partner rolled his eyes. FOUR minutes later and our call was answered by a cheerful Mary who asked how she could help us. We explained the situation and Mary’s instant response was of concern for us and of course that a solution needed to be found. She offered to cancel our booking, help us find other accommodation on the island we were flying to and also a discount on our booking. Wow! I was quite taken aback by their response. I felt heard, understood and felt that the situation was resolved. I would definitely be recommending airbnb to my friends.
It is now three days into our holiday and this morning we had a knock on the door from the mother of Fred, the man through whom we’d booked our accommodation. She came with a bottle of local wine, a bottle opener and box of chocolates. airbnb had been in contact with her and she was sorry to hear that we’d had some trouble with our booking. These gifts were from AirBnB to say sorry. Again wow!
Through their simple gestures of goodwill and trust,airbnb had turned a tricky situation into a positive experience. They had turned two apathetic customers into two loyal supporters and spokespeople for their company. I’m even writing about it in this week’s blog!
We all experience difficult situations both personally and at work. It is not possible to avoid these situations. However, it is possible to turn a difficult situation into a positive one, to turn apathy into loyalty, a stranger into a life long friend. We all fall down – it is how our falling down is acknowledged and how we get up and turn the situation into a positive that makes the difference.
Eudora Ralph Pascall