More than ever, high standards for customer service are essential in the hospitality sector, which is still recovering from the impact of COVID. Consumers now have a greater voice than in previous years, thanks to the growth of social media and review websites. They can also quickly tell the rest of the world about their experiences at your property, both positive and negative.
Ensuring your customer service standards are up to pace when there are workforce challenges is crucial as a property manager. But which standards ought to be given top priority?
In a recent post for HubSpot, Alana Chinn looked at the industry standards for customer service and which standards your guests value the most.
First, we look at what customer service standards are. Simply put, these standards or guidelines show the caliber of customer service your hotel or resort is committed to providing.
They serve as the standards for consumer interactions. This covers all aspects of customer service, including:
- How you greet clients
- How you handle customer complaints
- The kind of customer service training your staff members receive
Although each property develops its own customer service standards, they are all built on the same fundamental ideas, such as speed, transparency, and empathy.
As a result, several customer service standards are widely used by hospitality companies. These include:
- Respond quickly and with urgency to consumer inquiries.
- Be consistent in how you apply your policies and processes, and be transparent about them.
- Own up to your mistakes and demand accountability from your team.
- Be understanding of each customer’s circumstance and tailor the experience to meet their unique needs and demands.
- Always strive for client satisfaction and go above and beyond to fix the customer’s problem.
- Be accessible to customers at all times, and make it clear how and when they can contact you.
- No matter how challenging the customer contact may seem, remain upbeat and cordial.
- Be accessible across various platforms, especially those your clients value the most.
- Provide clients with self-service tools like FAQs and knowledge bases to help them find solutions on their own.
- Make effective use of automated technology and adequately train your staff to use it.
But you might wonder why standards for customer service are essential.
Customers can clearly understand what to anticipate from your business thanks to your customer service standards. They also provide instructions for employees to follow when talking with guests. By establishing standards based on fundamental customer service principles like responsibility and timeliness, you can demonstrate to clients that their pleasure is your top priority.
But more crucially, your guests care about customer service standards. So Chinn polled 100 consumers from around the United States to find out if they agreed that it was critical for businesses to maintain high standards for customer service.
The survey showed that 99 per cent of consumers strongly agreed with the statement.
But why are customer service standards crucial?
They guarantee a satisfying experience for your clients.
You can ensure that your guests have great experiences by setting clear standards for customer service.
Let’s take the scenario where a team member is chatting with a dissatisfied customer who is having an issue with their accommodations. The frustrated guest wants efficiency in resolving their problem and empathy for how they are feeling at this point.
In circumstances like this, the customer service standards you create for your property keep customers satisfied – and less likely to leave a bad review.
They set you apart from the competition.
High customer service standards can also help you differentiate your hotel or resort from the competition.
For example, a potential guest is choosing between two resorts for their family vacation.
- They ask a question of Resort A’s customer service department. The customer service representatives are approachable, prompt, and easily reachable by phone or email.
- They ask a question of Resort B’s support staff, but they haven’t heard back in days. When they get in touch again, they receive an automated answer without information about what to do next.
In this situation, with whom are they most inclined to make reservations?
They provide quantifiable benchmarks for client satisfaction.
Another crucial reason for customer service standards is assessing how well your hotel or resort is doing in terms of essential customer service objectives like satisfaction and delight.
You can quantify your standards internally and set objectives for your team. Then, performance evaluations can be built around these objectives.
Customers can also be polled to find out how well your property meets their expectations, and you can utilize that data to improve.
What are the top five standards that customers value the most?
1 Respond quickly to client questions.
This came out on top as the customer service standard that 61 per cent of customers appreciate the most.
Being responsive entails more than only attending to every customer query. While unquestionably important, efficiency and speed are also vital. Responding quickly is great, but you should handle their requests thoroughly.
Tip: Most customers anticipate hearing back from customer service in five minutes or less. Make sure you have a robust first-touch customer response strategy to let your guests know that you have received and are addressing their inquiry through automation or a live agent.
2 Accept accountability for mistakes and errors.
The quality of responsibility comes in second place, with 60 per cent of customers considering it a crucial standard for companies to uphold.
Acknowledging a mistake is the first step towards correcting it. Additionally, accepting responsibility demonstrates to the guest that you are more concerned with finding a solution than placing blame.
Tip: Developing a set of ready responses that your team can use when something doesn’t go according to plan is a good idea because mistakes happen. Simple statements like “We acknowledge that we made a mistake, and we want to make it right” can have a significant impact.
3 Go above and beyond to address the issue raised.
In third place, 59 per cent of customers believe it’s critical that you go above and beyond to address their issues.
When a guest raises a concern, they want to believe that you are making every effort to address it. And you’re elevating it to someone who might be able to help if you cannot fix it. Customers will feel that you care if they see this happening.
Tip: Exceeding consumer expectations is so much better than just meeting them. Give your support staff the freedom to decide what this means for each client interaction because every customer is unique.
4 Be accessible to clients when they need you.
Simply being present for clients when they need assistance ranks fourth, with 55 per cent of consumers in agreement.
Clients must know your operating hours and when online support is available. And it’s important to respond as quickly as you can during that window.
Tip: Use automation to ensure you respond to customers when your team is unavailable. Let people know when they can expect a response by leaving automated email replies, phone messages, and chat responses.
5 Be upbeat and friendly when interacting with customers.
Last but not least, 54 per cent of customers expect to have a pleasant experience with friendly customer service representatives.
Kindness always prevails. Additionally, try not to take a guest’s outrage personally – no matter how challenging the conversation. Remember, the guest causing the frustration is typically just wanting to enjoy their vacation.
Tip: Keep this in mind as you select candidates for your customer service positions. Perform role-playing during your interviews to examine how potential agents handle complex client interactions.
No matter who they speak to or where they are in the world, all customers will receive the same level of high-quality service because of the customer service standards you provide. You can ensure that your property remains at the forefront of the minds of your target customers by establishing standards for excellent service.
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