Enjoy Your Stay: Five Customer Service Lessons from the Hospitality Industry
February 12, 2015
By: Steve Roney, Social Content Strategist
If you’re in business at all, then you’re in the business of people pleasing. You can’t expect someone to fork over a portion of their net worth in exchange for your goods or service, no matter how impeccable the quality, if they simply don’t like you.
That being said, a spectrum does exist – an especially high-brow restaurant can likely overcome a snooty wait staff with unassailable cuisine, for example. Hotels exist on the other end of the sliding scale: unlike a perfectly seasoned lobster bisque, a comfortable bed can be found anywhere, so guest consideration is paramount to staying afloat. Here are five things that hotels do to keep business humming along that would benefit your company, regardless of your industry:
1. Ask for reviews: Don’t just make a comment card available and assume that your customers will fill it with feedback – actively solicit their reviews of your product or service. The hospitality industry has this practice down pat. Feedback cards everywhere you turn, a variety of representatives soliciting feedback, and cards directing you to online review sites – after all that, it’s almost more effort to not tell them how you’re enjoying your stay.
2. Use feedback to incentivize your staff: Yes, your staff is already being compensated for their time with wages, but if it brings out the best in your people, why not dangle a carrot every now and then? The hotels industry has seen great success by creating extra ways to reward especially effective employees, and that is worth emulating. Tack on a bonus for your highest-rated sales clerk, and your balance sheet will reflect the positive effects of increased competition to be the best.
3. Hold pre-shift meetings on lessons learned: “Communication is key” may be a trite sentiment, but it’s also one worth keeping in mind. Your customer service reps are the front line in your business’ interactions with the buying public, and all of the feedback that you’ve gathered is wasted if they’re unaware of the takeaways. Getting everyone on the same page about best practices, new directions, and timely adjustments will ensure that your team is making immediate improvements.
4. Treat every customer interaction as a review: Think: what is the last thing that every (quality) concierge or front desk clerk in America says at the end of a conversation? Some variation of “And please, if there’s anything I can do to improve your stay, please let me know.” There’s no rule that says you have to wait until a transaction or interaction has been completed to ask how it’s going.
5. Respond: Your customers want to have great experiences – and a large slice of them often take the trouble to tell you how you can serve them better. What you do with that feedback is up to you – but if you’ve been handed a roadmap to improvement, how can you not use it? Like the leading hotel brand that used Clarabridge sentiment analytics to discover that their beds were uncomfortable – and then replaced all of the mattresses in their hotel – you’d be crazy not to eliminate a customer concern that lies within your control.
How does your customer experience program stack up? Find out how to measure it by downloading our cheat sheet.