Customer care service has always been the hallmark of the hospitality industry. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, the quality of the customer care service people receive during their stay, will determine whether they come back for another visit, warn their friends to avoid your property or even worst: write a bad review! In fact, travellers are overwhelmed by choices when they decide to go on a holiday. So, in the end, customer care service is often the difference between choosing your hotel or your competition.
Gone are the days when customers were happy just by receiving “please” and “thank you”. Even though part of a proper etiquette, they are not sufficient! Excellent customer service is one of the keys to success in any business but is exceptionally important in the hospitality industry. In the hotel business, customers are not just paying for a room and food, they are paying for the atmosphere, the experience and the customer service!
No matter how great your company’s product or service is, if your customer service skills are lacking, it won’t make much difference. All it takes is just a message, in the middle of so many communication channels (Hotel Messenger, web chat, OTA’s platforms…), to stand unanswered to be a big problem. On this week’s post, I’m going to stress 5 customer care mistakes your hotel makes and give you a piece of advice on how you can solve them.
Not being available
Nowadays, the demands for customer service are different than they were a generation ago. More and more, people are expecting every service to be a touch away — a 24/7 customer care service on-the-go. Consequently, if you want customers to return to your hotel, you need to be easily reachable. If people find it difficult to contact the customer service department, they will most definitely not return. No matter whether you give support by live chat, phone or email, your customers expect you to provide a great customer care service.
Failing to follow up
After solving your client’s problem, you ought to make sure that you follow up to ensure that the issue was handled to the customer’s satisfaction. By not doing it, you will miss a vital chance to head off any potential future problems that may appear.
Why is it so important to send out hotel satisfaction surveys? The key benefit has to do with the fact that by following up you remove that negative feeling and replace it with a positive one. We always tend to remember the last thing that happened to us, therefore, you want to make sure that your clients leave the hotel with an outstanding and lasting memory!
Grand gestures are not everything
Another common customer care mistake is failing to realize that customer experiences depend as much on subtle impressions as they do on big gestures. Hoteliers must understand how much little gestures matter to their clients. Indeed, the customer experience consists of so many small items — impressions — and maintaining those that matter to customers and getting rid of the ones that clients find distasteful needs to be a well-thought process.
Keeping poor records and giving “canned” responses
If your customer records are poorly kept and your hotel continues to make mistakes like “Mrs Jackson” when in fact is “Mrs Johnson”, one thing is certain: you can be sure that this customer will not return to your hotel. While any business can make a mistake, consistently misspelt names and similar lapses do not encourage regular customers to return.
Furthermore, you ought to make sure that you avoid giving canned and one-size-fits-all responses. One of the new buzzwords for the hospitality industry is personalisation, thus consumers expect a more personalised service from brands. If you want your hotel to stand out, you must provide personally relevant and therefore unforgettable guest experience. Personalisation stands for understanding that each guest is an individual and you are more likely to get positive reactions if your treat them as such.
Not inovating — BIG, BIG mistake!
A great number of hotels neglect the innovations and best practices of other industries. Why is this a mistake? Well, because a business, in a customer’s mind, needs to measure up to the best of what that customer has encountered. Of course, improving the customer care experience is always a challenge due to the fact that guests usually have a hard time knowing what is valuable to them.
Nevertheless, technology is one of the keys to excel in this area. It allows you to automate and streamline the entire guest experience and the right technology can help you profile your guests at every hotel interaction (reservations, concierge, check-in, room service, among others) and integrate that information with the Property Management System (PMS) and CRM.
Our advice for you?
The key word in quality customer service is ‘expectations’. Consequently, you need to provide special attention to the expectations your customers create and the way you manage them. The aim for customer satisfaction is to exceed their expectations. Understanding customer expectations are the key step to satisfaction.
How? I might sound biased but chatbots are a great solution for your problems, they will help you automate and optimize customer service! It is a fact that bots are revolutionising customer care, from answering questions to solving customer issues to a booking a hotel room.
Travellers are getting younger and more tech-savvy, meaning there is a huge demand for chatbots within the industry. AI-powered tourism chatbots will further aid them in creating memorable experiences. They bring competence and efficiency to the organization by providing a personalised customer experience and 24/7 service to interact with customers in different languages.
If you are looking for a solution to help you automate and optimize customer care, you should meet HiJiffy — a conversational booking assistant for the hospitality industry. We will help you automate and optimize customer care.
Automate in the sense that you will have a bot to answer most of the questions and optimize with our console that is linked to the main channels of communication and that sends the request to the right person within the customer care team. We empower you with a great tool that will definitely improve your customer care service!