How hotels can overcome the 3 worst pain points of customers – Hotel-Online
Karen O’Neill | October 16, 2019
By Karen O’Neill, President Americas at Knowcross
There is little debate that today’s customers are more ‘experience-loyal’ than ‘brand-loyal’, and the customer experience is quickly becoming a much more influential factor in satisfaction. revenue and customer loyalty. Yet many hotels are exploding with long queues, slow responses, maintenance issues, poor service quality control, and unhelpful or uninformed staff. Another problem is that many guests will not say anything and then follow up their stay with a rant on social media or a damaging review on TripAdvisor.
So how can hoteliers easily anticipate and remedy common issues travelers face to ensure that guests’ stays never suffer? What does a customer-centric mindset entail and how can emerging technology support this service approach?
Of course, to discuss these solutions, we must first identify the problems. Here are three of the most notorious guest problems that plague hotels of all types, and tips for overcoming them.
1. A neglected bedroom makes guests unhappy
When dining in a restaurant, there are a few basic expectations that a customer can have: friendly service and hot food served in a presentable and timely manner. In the case of hospitality, the need to provide customers with a clean room is no different from the need for a restaurant to serve customers in the right order, presentable and timely manner. This isn’t necessarily a reason for a rave review, but it’s definitely the bare minimum the customer expects.
Despite the perceived simplicity of this requirement, the substandard quality of rooms is a relatively common complaint from guests. Whether the room has not been cleaned adequately, returned in a timely manner, or is not equipped with the amenities the guest requested when booking, it’s understandable that guest reviews are negative. Uncleanliness is, without a doubt, one of the biggest reputational killers for hotels, with these complaints constituting approximately 10 percent of total complaints in a year.
The solution is quite simple; at least, in the sense that this simplifies an otherwise potentially restrictive operational request. Housekeeping management technology enables hoteliers to streamline housekeeping tasks and dramatically improve staff productivity. Housed in a mobile app, supervisors can create task sheets that are dynamically allocated and sent to the staff mobile device, along with traces, preferences and cleaning sequences. Not only does this eliminate the need for paper-based tracking entirely, it also ensures that room status is updated in real time in a hotel’s PMS, that maintenance and service orders are recorded, that rooms are intelligently prioritized and performance is closely monitored.
2. Problem resolution
No matter how hard hotels try, the sheer volume of interactions almost guarantees issues and complaints every now and then. The key is to respond to these grievances efficiently and effectively. Complaint resolution is inextricably linked with customer service, and a majority of consumers (76%) associate responsive service with the value a business really places on them, according to a report from Aspect Software. It is therefore vital for hotels of all sizes and types to have systems in place to quickly and effectively track issues, requests and complaints.
Service-based management applications solve this problem head-on, ensuring that customer inquiries are dealt with promptly through an interactive guest application, ensuring responsive and high-quality service. Housed in a central system, hotel staff can easily access guest preferences to better anticipate their needs, engage on a more personal level and ensure a positive experience. In the event of a room-related issue, such as a faulty thermostat or no hot water, it is imperative that hoteliers have the necessary tools to address this issue in a timely manner. In reality, 24% or close to 1/4 of all customer complaints have to do with the ambient temperature. So just like housekeeping, a hotel’s maintenance service should be supported by dedicated management software to retrieve service and resolve issues in real time while tracking and resolving complaints and inconveniences. client.
Hospitality is about providing an exceptional experience. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of a hotelier to contribute to a guest’s stay in a positive and memorable way. Naturally, the lack of service at any point of contact can seriously affect the perception of a hotel by customers. Companies like Ritz Carlton, Trader Joe’s grocery store, Rosewood Hotels and Virgin America are known for their exceptional customer experiences because they involve every employee in the process. This is a consistent effort, across all touchpoints, to ensure customers have the best possible experience. Just like a domino effect, one bad interaction could harm the whole operation. In the case of hospitality, this may include complaints about unforeseen charges, incorrect booking information, unfriendly staff or impersonal interactions, front desk queues or delays in maintenance, an unavailable concierge, etc.
So what can you do to make sure you deliver on your brand promise and maintain service standards at all levels? Create a mission statement and standards of conduct for your employees. Use team meetings and apps to remind your staff of these standards and provide regular feedback on their performance. Use tools to create optimized schedules and automate tasks. Leverage data to unravel who each guest is, to better understand their preferences, to create more meaningful relationships and, in turn, more memorable experiences. By allowing staff to access more information and inquiries at their fingertips, personalized service that meets hotel standards becomes transparent.
Technology to the rescue?
First of all; hotels need to address obvious guest problems. After all, no technology can fix unfriendly staff, maintenance issues, or poor wifi. Hotels need to identify and invest in solutions to fill gaps in the customer journey that could negatively affect a guest’s stay and hurt brand loyalty. For example, streamlining communication between departments to handle basic tasks such as preparing a room for cleaning or availability for check-in should be a priority in terms of solving a human problem with technology. .
However, at the end of the day, great customer service isn’t a one-stop-shop or one-stop technology platform. Instead, it’s an ongoing mindset and an ever-changing quest, and not all hotel management solutions are created equal. Take the time to examine how your existing systems, or the solution you are evaluating, stack up against these touchpoints for true optimization capabilities, and you should have no trouble finding the right technology for your unique property.