The problem with manual logs
Hotels have a process of maintaining manual call logs for every call that gets made by the guests. They follow this process to maintain records of all the incoming guest calls. This manual log then helps the employees to track and monitor the guest complaints and requests as they progress. Now though this appears to be a pretty straight forward process in reality that’s not the case.
To put this in perspective, in a hotel with 100 rooms on an average there might be at least 100 calls a day. Now these are 100 entries in the call log or call record. The employee answering the calls have to maintain these logs manually which means he/she has to enter the room from which the call has been made, the guest’s name and the complaint or the request of the guest. Once the call gets over, the employee then has to decide which department to assign the ticket and then call the respective department to pass on the guest’s complaint or request and note down exact the time at which the department received the information about the guest call.
Now what happens after this is nothing less than a muddle. There is absolutely no transparency or sharing of information on what happened or happening with the previously assigned tickets. Questions like was the guest complaint resolved on time, what was the guest’s feedback, was there a delay in servicing the guest and was the respective manager notified remains unanswered. Managers cannot track what went wrong and when the employees are questioned there is no concrete information other than a session of blame game to witness.
Find your solution on the cloud
A robust cloud based complaint management software, is the solution to this problem. You may think why did I insist on a cloud based (SaaS) software. Without being a shameless plug I would like to mention the overall benefits like higher ROI, reduced capex (no need to spend capital on expensive hardware and software licences), lower opex (monthly or annual fees), easier adoption and setup etc. You can check out our article on “Why hotels should adopt cloud” for more information related to this.
Features to look for
Create guest complaints or requests as tickets
A complaint management software would allow you to record the guest complaints and requests as simple tickets. For example, now our employees have a complaint management software to use. When they receive a call from the guest they do not have to note things down on a notebook rather they can simply create a ticket in software.
For instance in Geedesk you select the room number and the category (department in the real world) describe the guest complaint or request and hit the “Create ticket” button.
Life is much easier now. Your employees do not have to maintain call logs and then manually pass it on to the respective department. All they have to do is create a ticket instead of writing it down.
Automated ticket (or) task assignment
Now that our our manual call logs have become tickets (in the digital sense) we now have to figure out a way to assign it to the right department. If this needs to be done manually then the whole purpose of using a complaint management software would be defeated. This leads to the second feature our complaint management software needs to have and that is automated ticket assignment.
Now lets get back to our earlier example. Our employee who deals with guest phone calls now has a simple software to record guest calls (complaints and requests). His problem of assigning the tickets to the right person in the right department will now be taken care off by the automated ticket assignment that our complaint management software has.
This completely negates the need to maintain manual call log and eliminates the problems arising out of this.
Time based escalations
Now that we have figured out a way to create tickets and automatically assign them to the right person in the right department. No process can be efficient without the provision to monitor, track and intervene as and when required.
Now that the tickets are created and automatically assigned to the right person in the right department we need to see if our complaint management gives us the provision to send escalation alerts to the respective department heads or managers.
Escalations are very helpful in alerting the right person at the right time. To understand this better lets get back to another real world example.
Our employee who attends guest calls gets a call for morning coffee from Room # 404 and another request for coffee from Room # 505. Both these requests are created as tickets in the complaint management software. Both these tickets are now assigned to the Food and Beverages department. The employee in the shift has acknowledged the ticket. According to our hotel the coffee should be served in three minutes. Now how does the managers or the employee who created the ticket know if the coffees have been served in three minutes? This is where the time based escalations become useful. For instance if our employee has served the coffee in Room # 505 in less than three minutes and in Room # 404 in seven minutes. Both the employee who created the ticket and the F&B manager would now know that coffee to Room # 404 has been delayed.
This now makes it easy for the manager and other stakeholders to take necessary action, which could either training the workforce or could be increasing the manpower in certain shifts.
Insights or Reports
Insights and reports form an integral part of a process. In our scenario they help us in measuring and quantifying our guest complaint management process. These insights empower the management or the respective managers to take desired action.
For instance a report like department with most complaints helps us narrow down to that particular department to understand on why it has a lot of tickets. To put this in perspective, in the above screenshot we can see that “AC repair” is the most frequent complaint. Now this could be a clear sign that we need a property wide “AC maintenance”.
In another instance the above screenshot indicates the room with most complaints. We can further drill down to understand what kind of tickets form the major reason for the room to show an increased number of tickets. May be its plumbing related issues. Now the managers can close the room down, fix all the plumbing related issues and then open up the room for the future guests.
All these corrective measures would not have been possible without an in-depth insights in our complaint management software.
We are here to help
A guest complaint management software like Geedesk empowers hotels to offer a consistent service to the guests and hence becomes the first defence against negative guest reviews. It helps us to keep the guests happy while they are inside the property.