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By Nikolas Hatz

Service Customization As Competitative Advantage

Stopwatch with red second handEvery hotel company has standard operating procedures (SOPs) for quality-assurance purposes and to ensure that guests receive the same service level across different levels of the same brand. Such guidelines determine, for instance, how much time should be spent on one guest during check-in, what questions to ask, and what benefits to give loyal customers. However, guests come up with special requests during the check-in process, and front-line employees then are required to spend more time with a guest. However, any average-time-per-guest standards that are set should not be followed indiscriminately, as special customer requests need more time and effort to be fulfilled successfully than others. Encourage your front-line employees to take care of all requests, including those that need more time to be implemented. Customizing your service pays off.

Every Guest Has Different Needs

Picture of young businessman signing bill in hotelEvery guest is an individual, as is every request. Front-line staff should keep that in mind, i.e., what works for one customer does not work necessarily for another. Brands should be aware of what they stand for: Five-star hotels offer more services than two-star hotels. However, two-star hotels should be willing and ready to offer additional services for a fee. The more stars and the higher the service level, the more services should be available and included for guests. Do not say “no”: Providing ancillary services might yield an attractive source of additional income that should not be ignored. Remember: Whatever services you provide, anticipating guests’ needs, proactively offering your services, and coming up with solutions before guests ask for them will serve as a competitive advantage.

Show Empathy To Build Trust

As your guests travel the world, many things can happen. The unexpected particularly might put some customers into unforeseen situations in which they need special attention and care from your front-line employees. Ensure that your front-line staff listens carefully to every request. Nothing is worse than saying “no” to a customer who needs your assistance. Whether the customer is talking to the right company representative or not, it is crucial that every employee put himself or herself into the customer’s shoes to better understand the situation. Once customers feel like their requests are being taken seriously, they will start to trust your company. Trust translates into higher customer lifetime value: Customers who feel like they’re taken seriously return and continue to patronize your brand.

Employee Engagement And Ownership

Conceptual Hand Writing Showing Take 100 ResponsibilityDepending on your organizational structure and your internal processes, your front-line staff should be encouraged to take ownership of any customer request. Companies with employees who are encouraged to take ownership of problems and act as the single point of contact for the customer have proven to yield higher customer-satisfaction rankings. The worst thing you can do is send customers from one department to another, so that none of your staff feels responsible. Front-line employees always should be open and willing to go the extra mile for a customer request, even if it requires more time to resolve the issue. Hospitality companies must find the right balance between making employees adhere to company guidelines while allowing for flexibility on the front lines to provide more customized service.

Identify Best Practices

A young entrepreneur working on a virtual screen of the future and sees the inscription: Best practiceSatisfied and delighted customers are the best motivation for your team. If one team member has gone the extra mile and has done a fantastic job, let the entire team know and use that team member as a good example. Whenever customers provide you with good feedback or a positive review, ensure that it is passed on to the supervisor, then to the entire team. If your business sends guest-satisfaction surveys after providing services to learn about the customer experience, include a question in which guests can enter the names of employees who were extremely helpful. In this way, you give your employees the possibility of serving as examples of best practices.

Get Professional Advice

Excellent ideaHappy to Help: HatzConsult is entirely at your disposal to help you develop ancillary services that you can offer your guests to generate additional revenue. We also train front-line staff on how to increase customer engagement, take ownership of problems, and show more empathy toward customers. See our complete service offer and contact us for further information and to receive your customized consulting offer.

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