The UK Hotel industry is highly competitive with customer service being a key differentiator. When executed well it can mean the difference between star ratings and ultimately lead to improved occupancy rates. An often overlooked point but worth mentioning – customer service doesn’t start when a guest walks through your hotel door, it begins from the very first contact they have with you.
How to embed a strong customer service ethos in reservation and bookings staff
The first interaction some guests have with a hotel is likely to be either via your receptionist, reservation or bookings staff over the phone. It is therefore vital that your reservations staff represent your organisation in a professional and helpful manner. Ask yourself these questions:
• How much visibility do you have of the conversations taking place at the booking enquiries stage?
• Can you pinpoint which staff excel in overcoming caller doubts, turning an ‘I’ll call you back to confirm’ to a ‘yes I want to book the room now’?
The way in which these initial calls are handled, directly affects your bottom line revenue, which is why increasingly many hoteliers are turning to applications like voice recording. These recordings are used as a tool to improve staff performance, far more effective than role playing, it takes into consideration unexpected variables inherent with each unique call.
Voice recordings enable hotel management to review the way in which reservations are handled and by focussing on both ends of the scale i.e. the exceptional calls and very poor calls, lessons can be learnt and training implemented. When staff become aware that calls will be recorded and used for training purposes, this in itself can often lead to an initial improvement in call handling.
Benchmark performance and use it to drive reward and recognition
For those larger hotel chains, voice recordings can be used to benchmark the performance across the entire group and used to proactively replicate the successes of those higher performing reservation staff in some of the poorer performing hotels.
By rewarding the successes of your higher performing staff and empowering them to share their insights and tips with others, this typically instils further job satisfaction helping to reduce staff turnover. In turn a more motivated bookings clerk is more likely to deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction helping to achieve customer loyalty. A guest who has received the full end-to-end customer experience across all channels is more likely to re-book and highly recommend your hotel.
Fact verification and catering for specific guest requirements
Hotels also have the opportunity to excel in customer service when catering for adhoc guest requirements. Guests often call hotels in advance of their visit to book additional services, specify a need or unusual request. Recordings of these calls can be forwarded by reservations staff to the relevant department, whether that’s the spa facility, housekeeping or catering to ensure that everything is implemented to satisfy the guest.
Ultimately reputation and customer service is fundamental to the hospitality industry as is the training and retaining of high quality staff. It’s your staff who create the environment and reflect the personality of your hotel and by using tools like voice recording you can increase enquiry conversions, better train and motivate staff and supply a full end-to-end customer service experience from that initial call through to guest departure.