“Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday” – Steve Jobs
With a world being over-run by technology it’s sometimes hard to remember good ol’ customer service. The kind where you can look someone in the eye and order your burger rather just walk up to a machine and make your order by using an over-sized touch pad computer. Same thing happens when you purchase a movie ticket:
- You purchase your ticket using an app
- You pre-pay online through paypal / credit card (Paying with Crypto Currency is starting to become the norm in some places).
Crypto Currency: A digital currency which uses encryption techniques that’s generated and solved. The core value of a coin is it’s functionality potential of tech it outputs in the digital world. Most popular Crypto Currencies: Ripple and Bitcoin, you’ve most likely heard of them.
- The day of the movie, you pick up your ticket from a machine which hands you your ticket. No human interaction needed!
Even when you purchase a concert ticket as an example, people seem to just zip by the ticket booth, and pick up their ticket from a ticket machine. Again, no human interaction.
What happened to good ol’ human interaction? Yeah, computers can get the job done…However, old fashion customer service with an actual person will never go out of style. Companies are finding new ways of perfecting that balance of technology and customer service. Let’s take a hotel front desk as an excellent example:
Where It All Starts…
It all starts from the hotel reception desk. The first thing you do when you walk into a hotel is sign in and get your room key from the reception desk. There’s usually a nice lady / or gentleman behind the counter, punches a few keys on their computer and BOOM. Welcome to Hotel Luxury.
If only it was that easy for the costumer.
The customer’s point of view:
Treating a traveler as a way to get information on preferences and attributes doesn’t make anyone feel as if they are undergoing human interaction. It feels like they are answering a computer’s questions and inputting your credit card information while not giving eye contact isn’t at all great customer service.
As the person behind the front counter punching in all the details and just taking money from people, isn’t all good for them either. People naturally want genuine human interaction, especially with someone who’s taking your personal information.
- Waiting in line for about 20 – 30 min. Most likely that customer just flew in from another state / country or DROVE there using ground transportation methods. They don’t want to be waiting an extra 20-30 min in line to get their hotel situated.
- When they finally get to the front desk, they are facing someone who is behind a computer screen which is behind a counter. A giant wall separating you and the hotel receptionist.
- Then there’s a person behind a counter who’s eyes don’t leave the computer screen as they are asking the customer questions and punching information in their computer. Might as well just use a robot!
What companies are doing to solve this
It would just be easy to just have a giant computer there to have the guest enter their own information, verify who they are and not have to deal with a real person. However, companies desire to re-place workers with automation is going extinct and a new tactic is rising up in popularity.
There are some hotels which are retaking the reins of customer service and creating something well balanced with tech + human interaction. These hotels took away their receptionist desks and replaced them with mobile computers.
Why mobile computers? The hotel employee can interact with the guests without having a wall-like barrier separating the two. Instead of standing in front of a computer with a mindless receptionist, guests will now have the opportunity to book their room with an employee who’s going to interact with them face to face.
It’s like a front desk, but neither front OR desk. It removes the barrier between guests and staff.
Several businesses are finding the perfect balance between tech and customer service. Need an extra pillow? Contact the hotel maid by using the hotel app and she’ll get you an extra pillow. Want to control the lighting an temperature by using your phone? They’ve got that covered.
However, the reason why most places cannot integrate updated tech is because of budgets and costs. Most places have to do with what they have when it comes to money, and updating anything.
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Biggest Responsibility Of Hotel Recpetionists
Eye contact. When a host asks for the guest’s identification, security deposit, and issues their key, the tasks usually require the host to stayed glued to their screen.
- Facial expressions and keeping eye contact is key. Staying engaged in conversation and being aware of body language is important as a host. Is the point of their trip for something amazing like a wedding or a funeral?
- Maybe for a birthday party or a business deal that went down the drain? Taking a glance at the guest’s expressions every once in a while can tell the host whether or not if suggesting the gym or spa would be appropriate and relevant to the situation.
Otherwise you might as well just talk to a robot.
Why do workers at the front desk stare at their screens so much?
Most systems are designed to script the host’s interaction with the guest to collect enough information the hotel may need to better the customer’s stay at the resort / hotel. The system is programmed to take the worker step by step of filling in the blanks to know who’s staying where and how much / what amenities they will be indulging during their stay.
- It makes it so there’s no time to interact with the customer other than just asking questions and filling in the blank.
Companies are cracking down on the issue
Now, the host can sit with the guest and flip through images of what the room will look like and what amenities are available. Hospitality is important when making a guest feel right at home.
If you were to ask any of the employees their job description, it’s more than just “I stand behind a desk and push buttons” .
Never letting lines form is a big issues many hotels are trying to solve. Making it so there’s isn’t a line to stand in and having hosts interact with the guests like people will solve this issue automatically. The balance of tech and great customer service can go a long way!
There are apps for re-occurring customers, where they can just book a hotel online, get to their room and unlock the room themselves with their smart phone. Without any human interaction. Crazy hu? Solves the waiting in line issue for sure!
Apps For Employees
Hotels that are volunteering in this tech trend are getting on board this app train for their employees, delegating tasks through an app and going through a check-list that’s ideal when trying to organize your team.
If there’s an issue across the facility, with just a push of a button everyone is aware and the problem gets solved asap. How efficient!
There’s a rush of people downstairs in the lobby and we need more hosts to get our guests situated? No problem! The manager can just contact workers from other floors / departments to delegate tasks elsewhere when needed.
Customer satisfaction is important for a business. You can tell a lot about a business and it’s services it provides just by reading it’s reviews. The better customer service / hospitality you provide, the happier the customer will be and hence better reviews.
With no hospitality, it’s hard to want to come back to a business. No matter how good the product or service is.
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