We all know someone who just loves to complain, even when there’s nothing really to complain about. Service industries like hospitality, in particular, see more than their fair share of customer criticisms, which are often voiced publicly online. Even the most luxurious hotels find it impossible to eliminate customer service complaints, but with the right staff, the right attitude and the right hotel technology, you can avoid most of them.
If your property is suffering frequent customer complaints it’s time to identify why. Your property management system (PMS) is designed to streamline daily operations, so that you and your staff have more time to focus on your guests. But your PMS impacts customer service in very direct ways too.
Let’s take a look at some common customer service complaints in hospitality and how your PMS should help you avoid them.
“No self-service options”
In a world of online shopping, we as consumers have come to expect the convenience of purchasing almost whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want (as long as we have an internet connection). In fact, the inability to buy products or book services online ourselves these days is most often seen as an inconvenience, and this is especially true of accommodation bookings.
If your property doesn’t offer the ability to book a room on your website, you’re probably losing customers because of it. Many modern travelers will simply move on to the next hotel website that does offer this convenience. What’s worse than a customer that complains? A lost customer.
Most PMS offer a website booking engine that is integrated with the PMS for live rates and availability. Make sure yours is commission free, easy to use and mobile friendly.
Other self-service options rapidly gaining popularity among guests include the ability for guests to check themselves in and customize their stay via a personal online concierge. Direct integration between your PMS and guest experience platforms—such as CRM software, self-check-in solutions and mobile messaging platforms—make executing self-service options more efficient for hotels, and the experience more seamless for guests.
“Check-in takes too long”
Whether your front desk is busy, or your check-in process just isn’t efficient, guests are quick to complain about their experience at this critical touchpoint.
This is where your PMS plays a very important role. Automating administrative tasks, a PMS makes the check-in process a breeze by making it easy to look up reservations, providing you with pertinent guest and reservation information at a glance, and integrating with your payment gateway and keycard system.
WebRezPro PMS offers paperless check-in, allowing guests to sign check-in receipts or registration cards using an electronic signature capture device such as a tablet or smartphone. This paper-saving feature is not only environmentally friendly, but it speeds up the check-in process and frees staff from the front desk, allowing them to check guests in from anywhere. If a queue is forming at the front desk, for example, another staff member can greet arriving guests in the lobby.
If your property offers a self-check-in option (whether online or by kiosk) a direct connection between that software and your PMS will facilitate a fully automatic solution that doesn’t require you to reconcile data between the two systems—and ensures a completely frictionless check-in experience for your guests and your staff.
“Doesn’t recognize loyalty”
Making customers feel valued is a fundamental principle of customer service across industries. Repeat customers, especially, want to know that their loyalty is valued, otherwise they’ll likely decide it’s not deserved.
It’s so important to show loyal guests that you appreciate their business by recognizing them and welcoming them back. Through guest profiles, your PMS matches booking data to recognize returning guests and automatically build a stay history. Guest requirements and preferences can also be added to profiles, creating a valuable reference point for personalizing the guest experience. Other reservation features like VIP flagging and pop-up reminders can help your staff elevate service for your most loyal guests.
Your PMS may even offer an inbuilt rewards program or integration with external loyalty programs that automatically reward customers with points every time they make a booking, which can be redeemed for future bookings.
While guests appreciate rewards programs, nothing shows loyal guests you appreciate them more than a warm welcome back and anticipating their needs and preferences. With the right PMS, it’s easy to give all returning guests the VIP treatment.
Uncleanliness is one of the top customer gripes when it comes to hotel stays. While the quality of work of your housekeeping staff should be regularly monitored, sometimes this complaint stems from work-scheduling miscommunications and consequent delays in servicing rooms.
The housekeeping schedule is organized from the room status list and guest arrivals and departures, so direct communication between front desk and the housekeeping department is crucial. A PMS that includes an integrated housekeeping report that is also mobile friendly for on-the-go room status updates ensures your housekeeping staff can organize and prioritize their work schedule effectively, and that your front desk personnel know which rooms are clean and ready for guests—in real time.
“Requests take too long to resolve”
From extra pillows to room temperature adjustments, guest requests and complaints must be resolved in a timely manner. When occupancy is high, this can be easier said than done.
Guest requests almost always involve more than one department; the guest notifies the front desk of their request and from there the front desk needs to notify the appropriate department, such as housekeeping or maintenance or the kitchen. Then the front desk needs to follow up to make sure the request has been fulfilled.
Automatically sharing data between departments, a PMS helps staff stay on top of all customer requests. Alarms and reminders can be attached to reservations and maintenance and housekeeping records. Mobile-accessible systems allow you to access your PMS data from a mobile device anywhere on (or off) the property, facilitating faster request resolution without having to return to the front desk to look up or enter information.
If your property communicates with guests via text messaging or a mobile concierge platform, consider integrating your PMS with your guest messaging system for even more streamlined communication and tracking of requests.
No matter how unusual the request—whether it be a framed picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger or a blanket fort awaiting in their room upon arrival (these are true stories!)—your PMS should help make sure all actionable requests are granted on time, every time.
In addition to making daily operations more efficient, your PMS is key to managing the guest experience. The right PMS will equip you with the tools you need to provide excellent customer service that even the most passionate complainers find hard to fault.