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Customer service: The key to success in the hospitality industry

Customer service: The key to success in the hospitality industry


Improving customer service unlocks the key to success in the hospitality industry

With the UK setting a new record of more than 30 million tourists visiting the city last year*, and with the tourism industry contributing more than £36 billion to the capital*, it is apparent this industry is one of the main lifelines of the UK.

Attracting and retaining customers in such a lucrative and competitive market is key. But the battle for market share and share of wallet is not easy and it certainly has many fronts. Customers insist on quality service for one (and we know they can really voice their displeasure online on many different platforms), employees demand job satisfaction, and management commands efficient and profitable operation.

So how can technology including Call Recording, Quality Monitoring (QM), and Workforce Management (WFM) help strengthen that competitive edge and keep key stakeholders happy?

Call Recording & Quality Monitoring

In the hotel industry agents deal with many different types of calls ranging from a simple booking request to heated guest complaints. The way in which these calls are handled can create a recurrent domino effect which not only affects the customer experience but also the hotel’s bottom line and reputation. This is where Call Recording and Quality Monitoring (QM) technology comes into play helping achieve the following benefits:

  • Tailor made coaching for front line staff

With a call recording and QM system, targeted monitoring (through advanced search parameters including date, department and call duration) makes it easier to locate specific calls enabling management to review the way in which reservations or complaints for example are handled. When evaluating, focus can be set on both ends of the scale i.e. the exceptional calls and the very poor calls where lessons can be learned and training implemented. 

  • Overcome langauge barriers

Call recordings can also help alleviate language barriers which may be associated when overseas guests call, and provide the opportunity to excel in customer service when catering for adhoc guest requirements. For the hotel employees, being able to listen again to the call from the recording, if in doubt, will help ensure that they got all the details of the enquiry right.     

  • Verify facts and resolve disputes

Call recordings can also be used for fact verification and dispute resolution purposes. For example, call recordings can be used to look back and verify the exact logistics of a booking. Call recording used in conjunction with screen recording, will even take into account factors which are not primarily led by what was said in the call. For example, while filling out an online form a reservations agent may accidentally have selected two double rooms instead of the originally requested one. By bringing together call and screen recording, management can look at all steps being taken to ensure correct procedures have been followed or gaps in workflows are fixed.

Workforce Management

In an industry where high staff turnover has resulted in a productivity crisis costing the sector £272m per year*, maintaining a healthy employee retention rate, whilst optimising processes is vital. This is where workforce management plays its part by providing the tools and functionality to effectively manage staff and forecast demand.

  • WFM for service optimisation

The leading principle behind WFM technology is ensuring the right people are in the right place at the right time. With powerful forecasting and scheduling functionality, parameters such as seasonal variations as well as skills management (where multi-lingual agents may be required to liaise with overseas guests) are combined to help effectively plan future needs and required resources, particularly when allocating the correct amount of resource depending on different contact centre locations and branches. More advanced enterprise WFM solutions may even be integrated with the queue management system, which helps to ensure all positions within a centre are covered according to the specific requests and traffic of that location.

Another popular feature within a WFM solution is the availability of real-time data, which allows the contact centre to react quickly to volume fluctuations by re-forecasting accordingly in terms of resource. This means centres will be able to act swiftly and efficiently maintaining their service level targets when an unexpected busy day (as a result of a flight cancellation for example) occurs.   

  • WFM for employee retention

Self-service functionalities available within WFM technology allow employees to view schedules, request holidays and review and assess their own performance. Moreover, they can self-schedule choosing their preferred work-time options from the available slots, or even swap their shifts with other like skilled advisors.    

Providing employees the ability to manage their schedules can lower attrition rates and contribute towards increasing productivity which in turn will improve customer satisfaction and service. 

Ultimately reputation and customer service is fundamental to the hospitality industry as is the training and retaining of high-quality staff. It’s the staff who reflect the personality of your hotel and by using tools like Call Recording, Quality Monitoring or Workforce Management you can increase enquiry conversions and supply a full end-to-end customer service experience from that initial call through to guest departure. 

References
*London welcomes over 30 million tourists for the first time ever, London & Partners, Friday 20th May
*London's tourism continues to grow, London & Partners, Thursday 21st January
*High staff turnover in hospitality causing a productivity crisis
By Sophie Witts, 20-Jul-2015 - www.bighospitality.co.uk/Trends-Reports/High-staff-turnover-in-hospitality-causing-a-productivity-crisis