Expert’s Voice: Let the team chat – how to enable seamless internal communication
Hotels must think carefully about what they want to achieve before adopting new internal communication tools, argues Laura Badiu, marketing manager at TrustYou.
Communicating with guests throughout their stay is already seen as a vital strategy in the race towards hotel recovery. Not only that; guest satisfaction and loyalty are highly influenced by open and honest engagement.
But what about team communication? How do you ensure that your staff has the proper means to keep in touch, optimise internal operations, and stay safe and informed?
When it comes to live engagement in hospitality, sometimes what goes on behind the scenes is just as important as the main act. As a manager, your ultimate goal is to serve your guests; however, that can only be achieved if your employees are taken care of first. But, with so many different platforms and engagement channels out there, it might be challenging to choose the best option for in-house communication.
In order to shed some light on the right direction, we broke down the most important factors that you should consider when opting for an internal communication strategy and engagement tool.
You probably have enough systems and tools on your plate as it is, there’s no need to turn to yet another external solution for your internal communication. Make sure that your solution of choice is already part of an umbrella-type platform, a solution that will save you time and effort that would otherwise be spent logging into different systems and manually syncing the data between them.
Ideally, your staff should be able to use the same inbox for their internal communication as they do for the guest engagement and live feedback, in order to observe and act on the needs and requests expressed by guests. In this way, team members are able to communicate internally while holding an ongoing conversation with a guest, with both types of communications easily achieved from the same place.
Also, keep in mind that hotel-guest communication is now happening on multiple fronts, from SMS to email, Facebook Messaging, WhatsApp, WeChat, etc. Your internal communication solution needs to integrate with all the available channels in order to follow every hotel-guest interaction and provide actionable insights.
Accessible and user-friendly
A hotel employee is no longer ‘tied’ to the front desk or any other place with a desktop. Nowadays, you need to ensure that any hotel tech solution that you implement can be easily accessible even on the go, and from both desktops and mobile devices.
Also, since we are talking about live, instant communication, user-friendliness is of the essence. The hotel staff needs to have the proper means of communicating quickly and efficiently, in order to stay on top of things and solve any arising problems. Especially when it comes to a larger hotel structure, one that greets hundreds or thousands of guests in a day, it’s crucial for the hotel representatives to have an efficient and user-friendly tool in order to keep in touch, discuss organisational matters, assign tasks, etc.
Communication platforms have come a long way in the last few decades, from text-only SMS to a combination of various texts and visuals, all in an effort to express more by doing less.
These functionalities can prove extremely useful to the hotel staff as well; for example, being able to send a picture or an attachment to a member of the housekeeping department can help to visualise a certain issue with a room and its maintenance; it can help communicate important information from a distance and in a matter of seconds. Especially when it comes down to being quick and efficient on the job, visuals are preferred over longer texts, and they certainly help add a finer nuance to the communication.
Optimises operations and solves guest issues
The main idea of having an internal chat solution for the hotel staff is to provide them with the best means of optimising daily operations and making communications more efficient. When operations run more smoothly, things are easier for both staff and guests. So what exactly should your internal communication tool enable in order to ease operations and add value to interactions?
First of all, make sure that users are able to exchange information both on an individual and on a group level. It’s vital to address specific team members, but also entire departments when needed. The staff should be able to add notes and observations to certain information or conversations regarding the hotel or its guests, as well as to assign tasks to the appropriate person / department.
If, for example, a member of the team has a short chat with a guest, asking them how they feel about their room or if they need anything in particular, they might be informed that the towels in the bathroom are missing. In most cases, the team member leading the conversation will not be the same person responsible for housekeeping, so he or she should have access to a quick and effective way of communicating this enquiry to the designated person, in order to fix the issue as soon as possible.
This will show your guests that their experience is highly valued and that your staff is eager to do whatever is necessary to make their stay pleasant and satisfactory. In this particular case, however, with no internal communication tool, passing on this information could pose a challenge and the expended solution can be delayed, which would ultimately leave the guest with a negative impression.
To make things even easier, we put together a checklist of the most important use cases that your internal communication tool should enable:
- Make internal notes to share insights regarding operations and service
- Forward messages swiftly and easily across various departments
- Send attachments to provide context on any relevant situation
- Tag a colleague or a team and send automatic messages without leaving the conversation with the guest
- Improve call-to-action for other members by adding extra details
- Help build a well-rounded guest profile, based on all the recorded interactions
- Solve issues on the spot and make a lasting impression
This is an edited version of an article that appeared on the TrustYou blog.
Marketing manager at TrustYou
Laura is a journalist who currently works as the marketing manager of TrustYou. There she develops topics based on hospitality with a focus on reputation management.
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