Serving Customers Both On and Offline
Every good hotelier knows that quality service is the most important thing for customer retention and satisfaction. Social media has officially changed how guests experience customer service, and hotels need to extend their great service to the online world.
Social media is the new word–of-mouth marketing. Before sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Trip Advisor, if a guest had a negative hotel experience they would tell a few close friends. Now, they can send out a single 140 character tweet to hundreds of followers, sharing their bad experience or even worse, write a negative review.
How should hoteliers work with this new form of customer service?
First respond quickly, “42% of consumers complaining in social media expect a 60 minute response time”(convinceandonvert.com). In their recent webinar, Beyond the Basics: Responding to Reviews and Social Media Feedback Like a Pro, ReviewPro provided an example of what they believe is a great response to a customer comment:
Whether it is a positive or negative review here are a few rules of thumb for a great response:
1. No matter how bad the comment might be, always thank them for commenting.
The truth is, hoteliers are not mind readers, therefore feedback from guests, be it positive or negative is always important.
2. Whether it’s positive or negative, ensure guests that their comment is heard.
Guests want to know that their comments are being heard and action will be taken. If it’s a simple maintenance problem, explain that it will be fixed, if it’s a compliment to your staff, assure the guest that their comments will be passed along to the staff.
3. Never use a template response that is not customized to each comment.
When replying to a guests’ review, it should be genuine from someone that works in the hotel who can give their contact information. The response should be customized to address the specific comment left.
Bottom line is, the definition of customer service in the hospitality industry has evolved. Hoteliers need to accept this change and learn how to better serve their guests during and after their stay with social media and review sites. Remember to be quick, active, and genuine!
For tips on how you can use social media effectively for your hotel, check out this blog post of Your Top 5 Social Media Questions, Answered!