With the holidays now behind us, chances are that your occupancy rate has dipped a bit. Fewer customers means more competition, so why not take advantage of the downtime to get that much-needed edge in the market?
They don't call it the hospitality industry for nothing - if your customers don't like the way they're being treated, there's another hotel just down the road. To ensure this doesn't happen to your establishment, here are five ways to improve customer service:
1. Train Your Hotel Staff
Customer service is a top-down endeavor, so train your management team according to your own standards. If they instruct their staff to provide the same hospitality standards you've instilled in them, you've created a system-wide mission. Consider devoting an entire employee meeting to the topic, and tell your staff well in advance so they have time to bring their own ideas too.
2. Watch Your Team in Action
Spend some time at the front desk, hang out in the lobby, observe the interactions — are your employees friendly, or are they curt? Do they do barely enough, or do they go the extra mile? By observing first hand, you can get a better sense of customer satisfaction and target the specific areas that need improvement.
3. Ask Your Guests
Interacting personally with your guests is the best way to find out what needs attention. Unfortunately, you can't press palms with everyone who passes through your doors, so why not consider creating a "comment card" they can use to provide feedback, or put together a user-friendly online survey? This is the best way to get unbiased, actionable feedback for your business, and staying in touch with your former guests never hurts.
4. Establish an Employee
Recognition Program Give your employees a reason to do a better job. A basic employee recognition program with customer-service related benchmarks could provide that much-needed incentive for your staff to shape up. Whichever employee gets the most positive feedback on your comment cards can receive a promotion, bonus, or extra vacation time. Create camaraderie internally with a peer-based system in which your staff votes on who they think provided the best customer service in a given month.
5. Go the Extra Mile
Go the extra mile with your guests and they'll keep coming back. Introduce yourself, ask about their stay, offer to do whatever it takes to make them as comfortable as possible. That effort alone might be enough to win their loyalty. And if you're able to satisfy their suggestions without incurring significant costs, go for it. By making their experience memorable, you can turn a one-time hotel guest into a customer for life.
Every problem is an opportunity, and despite your efforts, patrons will inevitably complain. Instead of seeing problems as hassles or failures, use them as an opportunity to improve your customer service and your bottom line. Address the complaint and exceed the guest's expectations. If they demand a free night, give them two if you have vacancies anyway. If they just wanted to voice their opinion, let them know you appreciate it by leaving a bottle of champagne in their room. These small gestures will leave a big impression, and you'll notice it when those guests book their next stay with you.
What other ways can you think of to improve customer service?