Top Customer Service Tips for Hotels and B&Bs
As one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors, it comes as no surprise that the hotel industry generated approximately £18.4 billion in 2016. With this in mind, hotel owners need to constantly be one step ahead in providing their guests with the best experience possible, and this all begins with customer service.
Delivering excellent customer service can mean all the difference between a good and bad review, and also directly impact whether a guest decides to return or go elsewhere. And while every business strives to go beyond ticking the ‘customer service’ box, how can you make sure you’re actually achieving this?
Make a Positive First Impression
First impressions are everything in the hospitality industry which is why you’ll want to make sure your staff know exactly how to greet your guests. As well as obvious gestures such as a big smile and warm welcome as your guests walk in, your staff should always aim to go that extra mile. This could include asking if they need their bags carried up to their room, whether they would like any help pre-booking services or giving guests tips on things to do in the local area.
As the reception area can sometimes get busy, you should also make sure visitors aren’t left standing around for too long - providing a comfortable and relaxing seating area can help with this. Let them know that you’ll be with them as soon as possible and always apologise if there is a wait.
Knowledge is Power
Make sure your staff are knowledgeable about the products and services that you offer. For example, if you offer food on your premises then your staff should: be made aware of where your ingredients come from; whether there are any special dishes on the menu; be able to offer advice on dietary requirements, and also make personal recommendations.
It also helps if staff are able to volunteer advice on the local area as well as additional information about your hotel, such as the history and unique features it offers.
When it comes to customer complaints, the key to minimising the damage is all in resolving the issue as quickly and effectively as possible. A big part of this means making sure your guests are able to reach you easily in the first place. This could mean having a 24-hour reception desk - or at least an out of hours contact number.
You’ll also need to listen to your guests and assure them that you are doing all you can to resolve the issue for them - especially if you think it could take a little time. Then you’ll need to keep them updated on what you’re doing to deal with their query before offering a solution. By doing this, you’re already showing that you are responsive and are trying to fix the issue as soon as possible.
A surefire way to make your guests feel special is to personalise their experience. It could be as simple as remembering your returning customers’ preferences - for example their favourite rooms or regular table at breakfast - and trying to accommodate this.
To get the best start in keeping things personal, you’ll also want to find out as much about them as possible. This could include asking them a few questions while they’re making their booking such as: what the purpose of their stay is. Are they on a business trip? Are they travelling solo or in a couple? Are they travelling as a family? This will then give you enough information to make personal tweaks for your guests; for example, you could ask someone travelling on business whether they need a wakeup call, or provide those travelling as a family extra cots or prioritise them with quieter rooms.
It’s also worth making a note of birthdays and anniversaries so that you can help with any special arrangements or offer them a complimentary drink or discounted upgrades.
Ask for Feedback
Asking for feedback is essential when it comes to customer satisfaction. Therefore always give your customers a chance to leave feedback and share thoughts on their experience and how they found the service they received. You should make this as easy as possible for them. You could leave a feedback form in their room, give them a form to fill out as they check out or direct them to a feedback form online.
You could also offer an incentive for completing it, such as the chance to win a free nights stay or service at your hotel. You can then find ways of showing your customers how you have taken on their feedback to make improvements and changes - this could be through social media posts or email newsletter updates. Letting your guests know that you take their feedback on board and value their opinions will make them feel even more appreciated.
And customer service doesn’t need to end once your guests have left either. It can be very valuable to follow up with your guests after their stay, so long as you have permission to email them. Reach out to them to say thanks and ask for their honest feedback on their experience. You can also use any data that you have to target them with promotional offers and upcoming deals they might be interested in.