The role of customer service in the hospitality industry
The mission of the customer service department is to be available and present for guests before, during and after their stay. Whether it’s by providing information, advice or helping guests feel comfortable and confident, the role of your customer service department is to provide a positive experience to your guests. In doing so, they will be able to associate excellent customer service with your property and become loyal clients.
What is considered excellent customer service?
Offering excellent customer service requires constant work and effort from your employees. They need to be involved, respectful, available and more importantly attentive to your guests.
Moreover, empathy is key to not only solve problems but actually understand them. In fact, you want to understand your guests’ needs and impressions to find an ideal solution.
An excellent customer service is able to quickly adapt to any situation, and has an extensive knowledge of its guests and their needs. Your clients need to feel heard and understood. They will appreciate the fact that your employees understand their situation and emotions and that the service they are offered is catered to their own specific needs. They will therefore be more likely to stay loyal to your hotel.
How to offer better customer service?
In order to improve your customer service, it is essential that you adapt to potential changes in your guests’ behaviour and new trends in the hospitality industry. You can use your property management software (PMS) to obtain clear and precise information about your guests and their previous stays.
In addition, try to regularly find out how your guests feel by checking the answers to your satisfaction survey, your online customer reviews or by talking to them at the hotel reception. This will help you to collect more information about how their stay went, what they particularly enjoyed or disliked. This can help you uncover which aspects you should improve on.
You can also educate your employees on the importance of providing excellent service and being welcoming for your customers through training. These trainings will allow them to better understand their role, encourage them to improve the service they provide and make them aware of the potential impact their behaviour can have on the image of your property.
Providing responsive, efficient and quality customer service has become a necessity for properties. Indeed, an excellent customer service will improve the relationship between your guests and your establishment. Also, satisfied guests are more likely to come back and be loyal to your hotel, as they will become true brand ambassadors.
Therefore, the customer service of a property plays an important role in its development strategy since it allows the improvement of its reputation and help to distinguish itself from its competition.
A diverse clientele often includes families, which constitute a guest demographic that requires special attention. You can make their stay pleasant by offering accommodations, such as high chairs in restaurants for young children or a swimming pool area or small playground. Simple touches such as having a children’s menu or crayons and paper at hand in restaurants always please families. Also, consider earmarking a few double rooms with an extra sofa bed that provide more sleeping space for families with three or more children. Your staff can easily find rooms with a sofa bed using your hotel PMS’ commodity feature when a guest with children calls to book.
Offering folding beds or extra beds is also a great way to accommodate families. Upon arrival, offering children a small gift or candy at reception is a pleasant extra that families will remember. It’s also an effective way to keep children busy during the check-in process that also helps parents pay more attention to the information your reception staff provides. However, make sure each item you offer guests is available at all times. When several families are staying at your hotel, you could run out of folding beds for young children, for example. Be sure your software has an up-to-date inventory of your hardware and update the inventory daily when an item is assigned to a customer for the duration of their stay.
Resorts that host the most diversified clientele may wish to offer special activities during the holiday season so that parents can spend time together while their children play and keep busy thanks to organized activities. In rental condos and cottages, consider making video or board games available for rainy days or evenings. In cottages with a spa, a simple action such as lowering the water temperature for children is much appreciated and a good way to accommodate a diverse clientele.
What about business people?
Business travellers don’t necessarily have the time to take care of details and appreciate when things are designed with their needs in mind. Offer them packages designed especially for them that feature extras such as a high-speed internet connection and spa access.
Make business people’s stay easier by having a supply of water bottles in the room and reserve a more remote or separate restaurant section for them that’s quieter. Also, consider keeping some services open later in the evening since business people sometimes call it a day much later than other guests. As they’re often alone in the evening and have the time, they may want to enjoy the pool or relax at the spa.
Finally, it’s essential to offer business people fast check-in and check-out service, as they have no time to waste. Providing fast service contributes to good customer service. It’s easy to implement a few simple tools to ensure a faster, more efficient check-in and check-out process. For example, providing guests with a pre-registration form they can complete before arriving at the hotel speeds up the registration process since all the pertinent information has been validated in advance.
Another way to make the check-in and check-out process easier is to install self-serve kiosks guests can use to check-in and check-out themselves. This procedure can take place either at a physical terminal or online using a smartphone.
Serving tourists well
Tourists want to explore, discover and see new things. On their own, they constitute a diverse clientele since tourists come from all walks of life and can be couples or families. One way or another, they’ll want to know what there is to do around your hotel. In order to provide the best possible service to a diversified clientele, your staff must have good working knowledge of the region’s tourist attractions. Your guests will naturally turn to your reception staff to get references to the best restaurant in the area. Such knowledge will also allow your staff to sell a stay at your hotel better. Therefore, by providing excellent service, your staff contributes to better reviews of your hotel. For this same reason, never hesitate to list the attractions that could draw a tourist to stay with you on your booking engine.
Be sure to maintain an inventory of informative brochures on the region’s activities in both English and French; it’s a good way to inform and accommodate tourists. Road maps are also practical.
To meet the needs of tourists, offer discovery packages and include items such as a dinner at the hotel restaurant with a local wine or tickets to a local museum or cultural centre thanks to a partnership with these third parties. To this end, nothing beats a PMS that lets you customize packages and add à la carte elements based on guest preferences. Selling tickets directly at the hotel will make it easier for guests to get to attractions without queuing up for each activity. Once again, better service contributes to a better stay and therefore to a better review or more loyal guests.
Last but not least, couples!
In most cases, couples are guests that are easy to satisfy. However, implementing the following strategies can ensure couples enjoy their stay as well as increase your retention rate.
To cater to couples’ needs, showcase couple packages and highlight activities they can enjoy as a duo. Offering a discount on their next reservation for two is a good idea and will encourage couples to make a return visit to your hotel. Spa packages are also popular when a couple is looking for a weekend getaway. You can include other elements in the packages, such as breakfast room service.
All these tips are easy to set up and will add value to your hotel experience while helping you cater to a diverse clientele. However, you must manage this diverse clientele well, as they do not necessarily wish to engage with each other. For example, a couple looking to spend a quiet romantic weekend together isn’t likely to enjoy a meal sitting at a table next to several families with young children. Therefore, your staff has a key role to play in assigning tables, rooms and services to each type of clientele so that all your guests can enjoy a dream stay at your hotel.
At this point, your hotel PMS (property management system) comes into play to ensure your customer service is as efficient, consistent and fast as it needs to be. A hotel PMS is an integral part of guest satisfaction. A hotel PMS serves as the heart of your hotel’s systems and helps you coordinate many departments at the same time. Also, a hotel PMS plays a role in each interaction with your guest.
Guest satisfaction starts with booking through your connected hotel PMS.
Whether it’s online or by phone, the booking process needs to be efficient.
A hotel PMS can help you with phone and online bookings. Online booking will be easier if your prices are clearly listed and you offer real-time availability. With centralized data and yield management, a hotel PMS can manage and automate this process so that you don’t need to manually adjust your bookings, which makes your life easier and your guests’ too.
And, speaking of keeping this easy, don’t forget that a hotel PMS lets you maintain a simple and efficient process. Doing so is important because, for your guests, time is of the essence. Forget about availability requests and websites like Booking.com or Expedia (or any other OTA for that matter) that could offer a competitive price. Your hotel PMS makes sure you offer guests the best price directly on your website.
Your hotel PMS is just as useful for phone bookings. With a tool on hand that knows your prices and your availability, you can complete a reservation in seconds. With all the information about packages at your fingertips, booking is quick and easy and the guest experience takes flight. With the first step completed, all you have left to do is impress guests when they arrive. Your tasks are made easy with a hotel PMS!
Guest check-in: a key guest satisfaction moment
Once the booking is made online or by phone, remember that guests’ expectations will begin as soon as they cross the threshold, especially if the process has gone well so far. The hotel PMS is there to optimize your check-in process to help you impress guests and exceed their expectations as soon as they arrive.
By choosing a system that links all your hotel’s departments, you’ll find bookings and payment receipts more efficiently, and you’ll even be able to see if your guest’s room is ready or waiting for verification in real time. At the same time, you can welcome your guest and give them their key. You’ll avoid confusion, long waiting lines, slow systems and inconsistent processes.
Even if your hotel is full, guests will feel you’re focused only on serving them, which is the key to guest satisfaction.
A simple tool. An essential skill
Since you work in the hospitality field and have likely travelled a fair bit, you know speed is of the essence when it comes time to get your keys or fix a problem at a hotel. Factoring in jet lag, long days spent exploring, flights and traffic, your guests are looking for efficient service and a warm welcome.
For instance, business travellers don’t have time to waste. Being quite used to hotels, they’ll instantly see if your team’s skills don’t pass muster. Hotel PMStraining is a crucial element for successful customer service.
A hotel PMS is a powerful tool that links all hotel management systems and modules into a single comprehensive solution and comes with its complications. Don’t be intimidated by the system. It’s fairly simple to use when you know what to expect.
Donc, pour garantir une expérience client impeccable, il est important d’offrir au personnel la formation nécessaire pour qu’il sache se servir du logiciel. Vous faciliterez ainsi son travail, mais aussi sa rapidité d’exécution et de résolution de problème. Grâce à l’interface intuitive et aux fonctionnalités avancées, votre équipe sera en mesure de répondre de façon optimale aux besoins de vos clients et d’assurer leur satisfaction.
It’s important to offer your team the required training so that they can use the software without any problems and offer impeccable guest experience. In this way, you’ll make their work simpler to accomplish and also improve task execution and problem solving overall. With its user-friendly interface and advanced functions, your hotel PMS will help your team provide answers that ensure your guests’ satisfaction.
Finally, a hotel PMS is vital in every department
For your hotel PMS to work optimally and guarantee the consistent guest service you want to deliver, it must work in tandem with all your hotel’s departments from the restaurant to housekeeping.
With your housekeeping team indicating room statuses in real time in your hotel PMS, your reception team will work with up-to-date information regarding room availability to further improve the efficiency of the check-in process for your guests. The housekeeping staff can also add notes regarding lost items, thereby facilitating their management.
The reception team will be able to manage bookings that include packages better with the hotel PMS helping them coordinate various activities. On top of helping with all booking and check-in and check-out tasks, the hotel PMS can also support your teams and ensure that your guests have nothing short of an unforgettable stay.
For its part, the restaurant team can more easily predict the expected number of patrons for breakfast or dinner. This kind of details can help ensure you provide excellent service throughout the guest experience.
Finally, hotel management staff can make the most of a hotel PMS to evaluate the overall performance of their hotel. With only a few clicks, they can access activity reports, occupancy rate, REVPAC, REVPAR and much more. These analytical tools compile information from multiple data sources updated daily in your hotel PMS and will help management staff implement strategies and plan for the future in a more informed way.
To conclude, this technology makes customer service as efficient and straightforward as possible. With a hotel PMS in your establishment, you can leverage the power of automation and set up consistent processes between your hotel’s various departments. Your work will be that much easier, and you’ll offer guests an unforgettable experience. To learn more about using a hotel PMS to ensure guest satisfaction, contact our experts today!
Getting feedback from your guests about their stay is the best way to gauge their level of satisfaction. Some satisfaction survey platforms even make it possible for you to assign values to answer choices to obtain a final score at the end of the survey. In this way, you can collect quantified data to determine the rate and scope of guest satisfaction. Moreover, some surveys can redirect satisfied customers to online review platforms. The more your guests are satisfied, the more likely they are to share their positive experience online, and the more they will trigger word of mouth and convert new guests. A well-designed survey even lets you target areas where your guests’ were less satisfied during their stay at your hotel so that you can implement targeted actions.
It’s also important to identify the guests who aren’t satisfied with their stay in your PMS software’s guest profile. Doing so prevents your staff from repeating a bad experience if the guest makes a return stay. When your staff sees the note in the guest profile, they’ll pay special attention to this guest. You can also add a note in your PMS when a guest is happy with their stay. On future visits, your staff can then maintain the quality standards to which this guest is accustomed.
Make targeted efforts
When you assess the results of your satisfaction survey, you may notice that your guests are dissatisfied because your hotel is simply not suited to their market segment. Depending on your location and the services your hotel offers, it’s essential to evaluate which market segment(s) your establishment falls into to target your communications better. If your establishment is more couple oriented, advertise this on your website and in your marketing strategy. This way, you’ll avoid having a business traveller book with you and be disappointed with their stay. Once again, your PMS software can be of great help if it offers guests the option to complete their guest profile before they arrive at your hotel. This profile will often provide information regarding guest type and reason for stay. With this data in hand, you can cater to a specific clientele with which you excel or to a clientele you don’t often see but want to develop.
Once you’ve tagged the market segment(s) you want to target, you must pay attention to preferences for the segment(s) so that you can exceed expectations and ensure stays at your establishment are a memorable experience. Use creativity to find ways to increase customer satisfaction. For example, if you’re targeting families, why not put lollipops on the bed to please both kids and parents? You could even program the children’s channel on the television so that the family doesn’t have to search for it. Also, when parents check in, don’t forget to mention the pool’s opening hours and other family activities that you offer.
These simple little touches could make a big difference in parent satisfaction and lead to positive reviews. If you’re targeting business travellers, forget about the suggestions mentioned for families. For the business traveller segment, provide the guest with the Wi-Fi password as soon as they arrive and focus on delivering a quick and efficient check-in and check-out process. You must keep on top of trends that affect your target segment(s) and establishment type, otherwise, you’ll soon be overwhelmed. Recent trends include paddleboards for waterfront facilities and robots in urban hotels.
Guests in all market segments have one thing in common: they hate waiting. To maintain guest satisfaction, make sure wait times during their stay are as short as possible. To make arrivals and departures more efficient, consider investing in check-in and check-out kiosks to increase guest satisfaction. Often, even without such kiosks, having a fast and efficient property management system (PMS) is enough to satisfy most guests. However, while it’s always a good idea to use effective tools, you must also know how to use them.
Nothing beats proper training when it comes to increasing your staff’s efficiency. Efficiency also depends on how quickly you respond to your guests’ requests. If a guest calls the front desk for a towel, it’s because they need it right away, not in an hour. Try to meet your guests’ requests as quickly as possible, and you’ll see a positive impact on their level of satisfaction. To this end, make sure you have the appropriate number of staff on hand for each shift. To help you plan staff needs, you can rely on your PMS’s various reports.
Another way to increase guest satisfaction is to personalize guests’ stays. Keep in mind that, every time a guest interacts with a member of your hotel staff, guests provide valuable information. Your staff can record guest comments in your PMS, and you can leverage this information later on to personalize the guest’s stay.
For example, if a woman calls to book a stay and mentions to the receptionist that the stay is to mark her 25th wedding anniversary, the receptionist can note this detail in the guest profile. When this woman checks in, the receptionist on duty will see the note and wish her and her spouse a happy anniversary. Not only will the couple be pleased you took the time to highlight this important event in their lives, you can also increase the satisfaction of these lovebirds by offering them a free bottle of wine in their room. These personal touches can be simple or more elaborate. Simply calling a guest by their name is a detail that is sure to please, especially if they are regular guests.
Decidedly, these little details can have a positive impact on guest satisfaction. You may also want to consider equipping your televisions with a tool that welcomes guests by name. Keep in mind that it’s also possible for the guest to customize their own experience. Indeed, several in-room customization options exist that allow guests to modify some options directly. For example, they can select the colour of the mood lighting or create a list of favourite channels on the entertainment system. Finally, consider offering guests the opportunity to create their own custom package. Whether they’re booking by phone or via a booking engine, guests will be delighted to create a personalized package tailored to their needs, which will naturally have a positive impact on their satisfaction level by extension.
To further increase guest satisfaction, you must innovate. Always be on the lookout for new ways of doing things. If you’re lucky enough to have a recurring clientele, consider introducing a loyalty program. Try to find ways to renew your offering by adding fresh activities or features, such as a new spa treatment, a new dish on your menu or a new décor. Make the most of all the opportunities open to you! Also, remember that a new service or feature is a great pretext for communicating with previous guests, especially by email, to invite them to come back and discover what’s new. These innovations will make your offering unique, thereby setting you apart from the competition.
To make sure the service you offer matches your customers’ needs/expectations
Where striving for quality is concerned, the goal is reached when customers are satisfied. Asking them if they are satisfied lets you know whether the service you offer meets their needs and expectations. In a competitive context like that of hospitality, meeting customers’ expectations isn’t optional, it’s essential.
Identify sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction
Satisfaction surveys are mostly used to identify satisfaction and dissatisfaction factors within a continuous improvement approach. Surveys generate information to be used operationally. Using satisfaction surveys gives you a way to satisfy more customers by detecting the reasons for dissatisfaction.
Anticipate expectations and market developments
Knowledge makes it possible to better anticipate what will need to be done. Which is why it’s important not to limit yourself to asking your customers whether they are satisfied (or not) in a survey, but to also encourage them to make suggestions or submit comments (in answer to an open-ended question at the end of the survey, for example).
Follow customer satisfaction over time
A satisfaction survey makes it possible to assess customer satisfaction at a point in time. However, by regularly sending satisfaction surveys, you can take stock of the evolution of your satisfaction indicators. Are your customers more and more satisfied with your products and services? Do they become less satisfied over time? It’s essential to know the answers to these questions at all times.
Stay in touch with your customers
Asking your customers questions to determine whether they are satisfied or not testifies to your receptivity and capacity to listen. By doing so, you are showing your customers that you are interested in them, that their opinion counts and that you care about keeping them satisfied. In addition, maintaining a strong relationship with your guests will help you retain them over the long term
Inspire your team with a new customer-oriented approach
The purpose of the satisfaction survey is also to inspire your team with a new customer-oriented approach. Continuously monitoring your customers’ satisfaction and regularly letting your team know the status of satisfaction indicators gives you a tool to mobilize your teams to respond to issues regarding customer satisfaction. Satisfaction indicators are management tools. Listening to what customers have to say is a philosophy that must be shared by everyone that plays a role in the business. By creating teams that participate to one degree or another in ensuring customer satisfaction, a business gives itself a decision advantage over its competitors.
Satisfaction surveys are helpful tools in the decision-making process. Analyzing the results and determining satisfaction indicators allows management teams and managers to prioritize and rank actions as well as make informed choices.
Increase your sales revenue
The purpose of satisfaction surveys is to contribute to your business and its sales revenue. Knowing your customers’ level of satisfaction means being in a position to continuously improve it. Satisfied customers will stay with you more often, but, more importantly, they won’t hesitate to speak well about your hotel wherever they go. And word of mouth will lead to new visitors. In this way, you’ll generate potential new customers and retain your current ones.