Manual Processes to Handle Guest Requests, Really?
Why is it that in a time where technology has become an integrated part of our daily lives and everything is moving faster, some hotel operations hold on to manual solutions for guest requests?
How are you handling your guest requests?
The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of new technologies, a lot of focus is put on fast and efficient communication. However, the part that comes after the communication is just as important. It's not enough if you have a chatbot or an agent responding to incoming messages if - once an issue is reported - it's just not getting fixed.
Recently we asked our LinkedIn audience the question "How are you handling guest requests?" These were the results:
56% are using an internal messaging group
19% are using walkie-talkies
12% are using an Auto Case Management system
It's surprising to see that more than half of our respondents have opted for processes with walkie-talkies or messaging groups, which give little or no insights into your operations, and no visibility on follow up. Below we have listed three reasons why automated processes are the key to delivering better guest experiences.
1. Fast responses, fast resolutions
With technology deeply embedded into our daily lives, we have gotten used to fast communication and we expect fast solutions. However, guest requests often need to travel a way before getting into the right hands. Your maintenance manager might not pick up the walkie-talkie on time and your message in the internal messaging group might get overlooked due to other chats. These little kinks are time-consuming and inefficient.
To save time, set automation rules to send the issue directly to the right department to be fixed. The request can be displayed on a shared platform, so everyone has access to the correct information. You can set clear deadlines so when the issue isn't fixed on time, the case gets escalated. For frequently recurring cases you can even set standardized processes so solving them is done in just a few clicks.
2. I spy, with my little eye…
Sure, internal messaging groups and walkie-talkies let you report guest issues, but what you need is visibility. What issues are reported most frequently? Are they solved on time? Are they even solved? You can't get any data out of them to reassess your workflow or spot any bigger causes.
An automated guest request process will allow you to analyze, reassess, and improve your process and services continually. Keeping an eye on the analytics of your operations will tell you a lot about efficiency and possible flaws. You will see how many issues are reported, what the root causes are, the solutions, etc. So, if for example, you see people often complain about mold in the shower, you can prioritize a refurbishment of the showers. This will allow you to make transparent data-driven decisions.
3. Standardized processes to get your team aligned
Let's face it, hotel life is intense: operations can get confusing, processes get mixed up, (new) employees don't get the time to get updated on the new protocols. Using verbal communication can even lead to every employee working according to their own processes and deadlines. Now more than ever we need uniform standards across the board.
Standardizing processes can help to get the whole team on the same page. Update the automated flow in your case management system so that the whole team knows what to do and what the timeframes are. By adding priority levels, you can be assured that everyone on the team is prioritizing the right tasks.
Internal messaging groups, post-it notes or walkie-talkies are just not cutting it anymore. The guest experience has become more important than ever, and hoteliers simply cannot afford to let guest requests go unresolved. Automate and standardize processes for quicker resolutions and let reporting and data guide you on where to focus on next.