5 Steps to Closing the Customer Service Gap at Hotels

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Do you think your hotel provides outstanding service? How do you know your guests would say the same?

Superior customer service policy is the foundation of the hospitality industry, and should be the priority for every member of staff at every level at your property. But even the best intentions can miss the mark.

While though you may think you are covering your clients’ needs, the gap between what you perceive as great service, and what the customer experiences as great service, may be far apart. In fact, in a study of 362 firms, “80% believed they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. But when we then asked customers … they said that only 8% of companies were really delivering.”

This is the customer service gap, and you can close it.

Here’s how.

1) Measure, measure, measure!

First, measure your online reputation using a benchmark like the Global Review Index (GRI™). Your GRI™ is a universally recognized reputation score that uses data from 175+ online travel agencies (OTAs) and review sites in 45+ languages to quantify how well (or not) your clients think of you according to the ratings they leave. A low GRI™ indicates that your hotel customer may not be entirely satisfied.

How likely a guest is to recommend your hotel is a great indicator of how happy they are with your service. Using the Net Promoter Score® (NPS) in your Guest Satisfaction Survey can give you valuable insights on this. The NPS® is calculated by taking the percentage of promoters (those that are happy with your service) and subtracting the percentage of detractors (those that are not happy), giving you an NPS® score. The evolution can then be tracked over time.

Hotel lobby with yellow chair and plant on coffee table
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

2) Hone in on the details

Is your front desk letting you down? Cleanliness levels lacking? Are your guests waiting a long time for maintenance? Once you have identified that there is a gap, you will want to know more about it. A specific software can be used to identify pain points and what your guests are saying about you online. This can be as general (think: decor) or as specific (think: the carpets are old and grubby) as you like.

3) Time for action!

Now you know the problem, you will want to implement meaningful change. It’s a good idea to break down the complaints by department, and then assign staff their KPIs and goals based on the insights you find, and the solutions you put in place to try to fix them.

4) Meet all your guests’ in-stay needs

Prompt customer service while still on site is fast becoming the norm with hotel guest messaging apps and systems. Think about solving issues while guests are still on site, and never letting service errors turn into bad online reputation or negative word of mouth.

Is it that your guests are expecting one thing and experiencing another, leading to disappointment? While there are things you perhaps cannot change about your hotel, you can change the way you portray them. If your establishment is perfect for corporate guests because it is near the business park and has fast WiFi and airport access, don’t try to make out that couples or families will have the time of their life there. Reach out to the demographic that will benefit from your niche, and communicate it well. That way you will excel in the area you do best at.

Post it note, with drawn lightbulb on it pinned to a cork board
Photo by G. Crescoli on Unsplash

5) Innovate

Customer experience is a journey, and it is moving forward. As a business you need to be aware of the trends and changes in the industry. Keep up to date with the top industry trends to continue to create enhanced guest experiences.

Closing the customer service gap by putting your customer service policy first takes dedication, insight, and the right tools. But if you strive to put guest experience at the heart of your business, you will be on the right path.

*This article originally appeared in the reviewpro.com blog and has been adapted to a wider audience.

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