Have you ever got to a hotel and found the reservation that they have for you is not what you booked?� Or arrived at a restaurant to find that your booking has gone completely missing?� Maybe you have arranged for a delivery at noon, to find it turned up while you were out, at 10am.� How can you recover the situation and get what you want?

The first thing is to recognise that your sense of righteous anger will not help you influence the situation: it is far more likely to impede you.� Instead, ask yourself two questions: what is it that I really want as an outcome, and who in this situation has the power to help me get it if they really choose to?� This is the person that you need to speak to, but may not be the person you will be speaking to now.

You may decide that it is the hotel manager who can sort out your reservation problem.� But remember that it is the receptionist whom you are talking with now, who will go and get the manager.� So if you annoy them by being angry or rude, then they will influence the manager�s perception of you before even meeting you.

Indeed, the receptionist may have more authority to act than you know, so rule one is to always assume that the person in front of you has the power to fix your problem.� This way, you will talk to them with respect and may never even have to meet the manager � except to complement the courtesy and efficiency of their receptionist!

So, once you have told the receptionist that there is a difference between what you booked and what they have on record, ask for their help in resolving it.� If you blame them, you will almost certainly be wrong and will not predispose them to help.� By asking for help, you cast them as �on your side�.

Now for the advanced stuff

Before asking for help in sorting it out, start by asking for a small amount of help that they can easily give.� Ask them to tell you exactly what details they do have.� Once they have granted a small favour, it will be easier for them to grant more.� Next, ask for another small increment: �What are the procedures for reviewing this?�, for example.� Each time they help you, they are moving farther towards �your side�.� When you thank them and make them feel good, they like you more, and want more to help you.

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