Treat your guests how you want to be treated.
You may have already realised that Customer Service is of great importance to the hotel industry.
People give their business where they believe they receive the most value in return for their money; and don’t let it escape you that the hotel business is service-based.
This means that if you provide what feels like £1,000 (or $1,000) service, for just a 100 or so, don’t be surprised if they keep coming back again for more (and even recommend their friends or colleagues).
It is a great blessing that at this time, we don’t know if it has ever been easier to give great service to customers.
Here a list of a few things to make sure you aren’t missing out on, when we should be giving your customers service they don’t want to forget:
1. Make Things Easy For Them
People are at your hotel for a reason and it is probably this: they want to make things easy for themselves.
They have travelled to your area for a reason and want to see that thing realised.
Whether it is for business, just visiting past acquaintances or any other reason, they chose a hotel instead of sleeping on a sofa or in their transport for a reason.
They want things to be easy.
Make things easy for them and don’t make them hard, treat them nicely and don’t leave them having to look elsewhere.
As simple as this is, ask yourself – or even better, ask your customer: “What brings you to [our city]?”
Knowing where your customers want to go is a big help.
Just think, if they tell you, “I’m here for a business meeting”; they have just given us a clue as to how to help them.
If you help them get what they need, you will be helped to get what you need.
Putting This To Practice
Now we know they are here for a meeting, here is a list of few ways we might help them out:
- Make sure you find out what time the meeting is to schedule a wake-up call.
- Offer to book their transport.
- Find out how long Google Maps thinks the journey might take at that time of day and book it just a bit before, or tell them in case they have their own transport planned.
- Offer to bring breakfast to their room.
The things you might do here are innumerable.
Nowadays with all the innovations available, you should definitely use what you are able to help your travellers get where they need to go.
Starting today, make note of what the majority of your customers use your hotel for.
Now find out what they need to help them reach that goal.
For example, let’s continue with the business meeting example:
They sound like they may be a professional person, so having a quiet area dedicated to coworking may be something very useful for them.
(I don’t know if you have tried to sleep in the same space you sleep – it’s harder to be that productive!)
Also, they might need to look smart for their meeting, so having an in-house dry cleaning service (or a run-it-down-the-street service – we wouldn’t be surprised if there are Uber-style pick and drop laundry services in major cities now.)
What’s more, you might even be able to take a small commission for your time on the laundry also, great!
This is an ongoing process, but really doesn’t it sound fun?!
What do my customers need? Okay, great, here’s a coworking area for you.
Now they have a coworking area, what might they need on top of that?
Obviously, WiFi, good coffee, a soundproofed area for phone calls, etc.
The last thing on this point, is that one of the beauties of the hotel industry is that a $200 room with loads of added extras (even if they don’t need or use them all), looks more appealing than a $100 room with $80 of extras.
…it might look a lot better on an expense report as well!
2. Nurture Your Staff
So you understand the above and you want to get started right away.
That’s great, however, you will likely need more than one person to run your hotel.
In this case, you need to nurture, not just teach your staff.
What does this mean?
Teaching is like giving a script, “do this, then this and don’t do this.”
Okay, but we haven’t nurtured our staff yet.
We need them to understand that good customer service is actually beneficial for them and what they need to be concerned with.
This is nurturing:
“Thanks a lot for your work lately [employee’s name], I really appreciate it.
What’s your main motivation for your work? I am interested to hear more about you.”
That’s more like it.
On the other hand, there may come a time when things have gone the other way and you need to have a different chat, instead of:
“Your performance has fallen, you need to keep it up if you want to keep working here.”
Try this instead:
“It seems like you might be a bit tired lately, [employee’s favourite name], is everything okay?”
Now do we get it?
If you want people to buy into your advice, they need to buy into YOU first.
Let them know that you care about them and that you want what is best for them.
(And the quickest and easiest way to do this is with your actions.)
If you do this, don’t be surprised if they ask you for advice!
Then, let them know that what goes around comes around and if they focus on helping the customers as much as possible, it will help them reach what they want (and they need to ask the customers what this is as it may not be obvious).
Lastly, you need them to know that you trust them.
You have a job to do, so do they.
If we try to do our employees’ jobs for them, who’s going to do ours?
So when you finish giving advice (a small tip, one at a time!) follow with this:
“But, if you feel like something else might be better, go ahead. I trust you.”
Really, it’s a big difference.
3. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Let’s keep this article short and actionable,
We’ve hinted to it already, but now that we understand that helping customers helps us, and our employees understand that helping customers helps them – NOW it is time to take the ways and means.
This means adding leverage to our judgement.
And today, there are so many things to help with this.
For example, use a customer resource management software (CRM) to keep track of your employees.
This means micro and macro data, i.e. for that specific customer, or that type of customer or all customers in general.
Brief your staff (after you have their buy-in) as to why this tech matters to them and show them how to use it to maximum effect.
(Perhaps a quick side point, if you aren’t doing so already, split the tips among your staff and don’t take a cut of theirs – Trust, trust, trust and shorten the cycle between their good customer service and reward)
Introduce an anonymous feedback tool to gather intelligence (you might set this up in a free email autoresponder) and set aside a day every month where you go through the responses.
If there was something commonly requested, perhaps once you’ve improved that service area, send an email newsletter to all your clients letting them know the new feature at the hotel you want them to benefit from.
Look out for your customers’ welfare as well as their wealth, consider looking for healthy alternatives to common hotel items (we know something about this!)
Again, if you want your customers to trust you with their money, help them to trust you.