Managing guest complaints and requests effectively is very important for hotels as it depends on the guests being happy or unhappy. If the guest is happy he is going to become a loyal customer. If not he is going to become an irritated netizen who is going to post negative reviews in every website which will remain visible for ever.
Hotels around the world have automated their booking and front office systems but the guest complaint management still predominantly manual. The guest makes a call to the operator and there after the call is either redirected to the right department or is manually passed on to the respective department. In some cases the guest is even made to call different extensions for different services.
Though this practice works just fine in a perfect world, it lacks certain key ingredients like accountability, time bound resolution, monitoring and documentation etc.
The lack of above key ingredients makes things worse when there is a potential issue with a guest complaint or request. This could be anything from delay to not matching guest expectations.
The guest from room number 404 calls the operator and asks for a water bottle at 8 p.m. The operator passes on the request to the F&B department at 8:15 p.m. This could potentially be a busy time for the F&B department with room service requests coming for dinner, in addition to the demand in the restaurant. In this chaos the F&B department forgets to deliver the water bottle to the guest in room 404.
Now we have a guest who is upset that he has not got just one water bottle delivered to his room. He calls the operator once again at 8:50 p.m and asks about why the water bottle was not delivered to his room. The operator now does not have any answer. The operator or the boss cannot track at what time the request was raised, whom it was assigned to in the F&B department and why there has been a delay.
By now the guest has most probably formed an opinion that he is not being served well and is terribly angry. With absolutely no means of internal escalation, he picks his laptop and resorts to the internet to leave a review for the world to see.
How can a complaint management software help?
A complaint management software is a simple tool that helps in managing the guest complaints and requests in a hotel. An ideal hotel complaint management software should have the following features,
- Automatic ticket assignment
- Automated escalation and alert for delayed tickets
- Reports explaining guest ticket pattern
- Every ticket has a owner (user) and department for easy tracking and accountability
Track every complaint and request
The biggest problem in this scenario is lack of documentation of complaints. No one in the team knows what’s happening. Details like who took the complaint or request and who is responsible to resolve it remains a mystery. When things go wrong and the manager or supervisor responsible does an inspection to find out what went wrong or who is accountable the only thing he faces is blame game, where one employee blames another or one department blames another. None of this by the way solves the customer’s problem or complaint and only adds on to the complicated bureaucracy that comes in the way of growing the business.
To avoid such complicated and confusing situations, all guest complaints should be documented with details like department the ticket belongs to and the employee who is responsible to resolve tickets and the progress that he has made so far. This would help managers and supervisors to establish accountability and create a sense of ownership for the department and employee to resolve tickets in time.
Resolve complaints and requests in time
With the guest complaints and requests being documented it is now important to resolve this complaints and requests in the right time possible. These complaints or requests aka tickets in complaint management terms could be anything ranging from room service requests to complaints like AC not working or plumping issues in the bathroom.
Though these tickets have nothing much in common, but they still need to be resolved in an optimum time frame. The complaint management software needs to support an escalation metric in which managers can define and configure on when a ticket needs to escalated and under what circumstances.
Escalating a ticket which is taking too much time lets the manager and other team members know about this ticket and they can either take over or chip in to help the employee resolve the ticket as soon as possibly. It also creates a sense of urgency and enforced accountability to the employee who is responsible to resolve the ticket.
Understand the pattern behind guest complaints and requests
In the world of big data and machine learning hotels could now predict and understand various business patterns and scenarios to increase revenue and operational efficiencies.
Geedesk is just a custodian of customer data, whereas our customers own their respective data. With that being said Geedesk integrates with tools like Google BigQuery out of the box to help our customers use their data to analyse and understand common patterns.
To put this in perspective let’s consider the following example.
Mr.Johnson is a regular guest at The Pearl, New York.Mr.Johnson’s complaints and requests has been documented in their complaint management software. Now using this data The Pearl could offer Mr.Johnson customised services. In addition to that they could also alert the other hotels in their group about Mr.Johnson’s preferences if he had to checkin into those hotels.
In addition to understanding guest preferences the data stored in the complaint management software also helps hotels to understand their strengths and weaknesses. The marketing teams in the hotel could concentrate on the strengths in marketing events and campaigns while the operations team could focus on improving the weaknesses.
Discover the biggest issues in the hotel
So, you have noticed a few repeated complaints coming from customers but you cannot quite pin down the exact problem? The answer is in the data.
Geedesk allows you to check data analytics to discover the reasons behind most guest complaints and you can also find out the rooms that get the most complaints. You can view graphical insights about daily, weekly, or monthly tickets, top complaint categories, and high performing categories. It also takes just a few seconds to create custom reports according to ticket status, SLAs, room types, complaint types, ticket resolution time, ticket priority, and much more.
Train your staff and schedule maintenance
With the insights discovered through the CMS, you can get a much clearer idea about the issues crippling your hotel property and you can use that information to train your staff accordingly. For instance, if monthly reports indicate increasing number of complaints regarding the air conditioning in the rooms, then you can ask a technician to come in and check the entire system.
The insights can also help you understand which type of complaints take the longest to resolve and you can have a department meeting about how to resolve them faster.