With more than 47 million people in the UK receiving at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine,* confidence in returning to ‘normality’ has increased with 53% of UK holiday and leisure bookings now being made for 2022.± While this means that uptake for the remainder of 2021 is still only small, people are making enquiries and bookings in large numbers for next season.
Increased enquiries are the perfect opportunity for airlines, hotels, and other hospitality businesses to re-engage with customers but in the post-pandemic world, this poses problems particularly for those businesses who downsized their workforces.
Frontline staff are crucial to customer satisfaction but with less staff, waiting times for customers can be a lot longer and customer service standards can easily slip.
Here are 3 simple steps to keep customer satisfaction at the forefront during the rebound.
1. Inspire Customer Confidence
Those planning holidays, days out, and attending events are looking at a lot of firsts since the pandemic began, first inside dining, first flights first stays away from home, and first crowds.
With all these firsts people also have a higher level of expectation in regards to personal space, courtesy, health and safety, sanitation, and health checks.
Earning customer trust starts with showing that your business is sensitive to their concerns, wants, and needs.
The pandemic has created a unique opportunity for hospitality businesses to make a great second impression based on respect and care.
Businesses that make a commitment to high standards of customer care are far more likely to gain long-term customers with a deeper sense of loyalty.
2. Entice New Staff with a Superior Employee Experience
The best way to handle an influx of new customer enquiries is with more staff but that is difficult with skills shortages and hospitality staff having left to retrain in other fields.
Finding talented staff and retaining them is key to keeping operations running smoothly and customer satisfaction high, if your staff are happy they will provide better service.
Streamlined inductions, prioritising the well-being and safety of staff, offering benefits and incentives, and addressing any concerns upfront are all excellent ways to keep employees happy and maintain a quality talent pool for your business.
3. Leverage Automation to Fill Gaps
Even if it isn’t possible to have human agents dealing with every customer request, customers still need to feel heard. Automation technology can fill holes in your marketing, sales, and service ensuring a seamless customer experience.
For example, chatbots can give customers the ability to engage with your business from anywhere and at any time thereby offsetting the long wait times that frustrate even the most patient of customers.
Chatbots can answer common questions and identify the urgency and complexity of requests and complaints allowing your human agents to prioritise and work more efficiently while the chatbot handles the more frequent and simpler interactions.
UX-Digital’s ‘Digital Concierge’ is a chatbot designed specifically for the hospitality industry. Available in a range of languages with the ability to score requests, answer free form questions, share resources, send email alerts, upsell and most importantly, learn from its interactions.
Investing in automation technology now will nurture and encourage future bookings.
Finding your footing again while also mapping an interconnected, multi-channel customer journey is no simple feat. In order to succeed, hospitality businesses cannot attempt to continue operating as they did in the pre-pandemic world but instead must adapt to support customers at the point they are at right now even if that means adopting non-traditional processes. It might be a big challenge but it is also an opportunity to attract new and existing customers in completely new and exciting ways.