The concept of customer service in hospitality is being redefined (dare I say improved?) by the introduction of technology.
Traditionally, hospitality has been understood as human interaction. After all, hospitality’s main definition is the friendly and generous reception of guests, it’s synonymous with “warm reception”. Neither of these, historically, could have been accomplished with technology. Which poses the question, how can technology help the hospitality industry deliver awesome customer service? Let’s take a look!
Meeting Guest’s Needs
In the hotel world, the mission is to serve guests and meet their every need. Today’s guest has a diverse and continuously evolving set of needs, but some are becoming increasingly universal:
- Guests need control: Your guests need control at their fingertips. The supercomputers we carry everywhere in our pockets facilitate a 24/7-connected experience and we expect this connectedness when we travel. They come to your hotel conditioned to get what they want, when they want it, at a push of a button.
- Guests need efficiency: Guests are either staying at your property on vacation or business. Whether they want to maximise leisure time, or they’re rushing between meetings; no guest has time to waste standing in long lines to check in or waiting for their room service, with no hint as to when it will arrive.
- Guests need easy communication: Your guests come from all over the world and speak many different languages. Language barriers between you and your guests are a major obstacle to exceptional customer service.
Empowering Hospitality Through Technology
So, what can hotels do to meet these increasingly universal technology-driven needs? My suggestion is think of technology not as something mutually exclusive with hospitality, but as something that instead can empower hotels to cater to the needs of the modern guest. This means using technology as a tool for your staff, as well as a means to extend service to your guests.
Free your Staff
While many think of technology in hospitality as a tool to aid guests, the team at ALICE app have found that delivering exceptional service starts with providing technology to your staff. Give your staff tools to do their own work better, which in turn allows them to provide better service to your guests.
For example, by automating check-in, a receptionist now no longer tied to their computer behind the front desk, can greet the guests the moment they enter the lobby. Doesn’t that sound like a warm reception! Meanwhile, using room assignment technology, back of house staff can turn down rooms faster, exceeding the expectations of your guests. Automate the routine tasks your front and back of house staff execute every day; the efficiency of execution will ultimately lead to improved customer service.
Mobile technology, in particular, allows your staff to be as mobile as your guests, empowering them to provide hospitality from anywhere on property. Untethered from their desks, your staff can now take guest requests, dispatch them and even chat with an off-property guest from wherever it makes the most sense.
Empower your Guest
Guests already use their smartphones as remote controls for their lives. Why not make your entire suite of services available in the palm of their hands? They can use your hotel’s mobile services on their own devices to converse with the staff wherever they are, both before, during and after their stay. Let them book spa treatments, order room service or extend their stay at the touch of a button, in the comfort of their hotel room.
Improve the Conversation
With both staff and guests empowered by technology, you can now improve the conversation by removing a critical barrier to customer service: language. With translation technology you can provide real-time language translation between guests and staff, as well as between staff, to drive better guest service and meaningful guest engagement.
As you can see, hospitality is compatible with technology. At ALICE, we’ve seen this first hand. Our technology helps our clients improve their operations, cut costs, drive revenue, and boost guest satisfaction and loyalty. ALICE uses technology to empower staff and guests, so you can deliver exceptional customer service. So, next time you wonder about the relationship between technology and hospitality, remember: technology doesn’t hurt the “warm reception” – it enables it.
Originally written for lumiserv.com and published on the 5th September 2016