Success lies in the small details - Telephone etiquette

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With the rapid deployment of technology in all wakes of life, specifically in the hospitality industry, it may seem as if the human factor is becoming less important and business is getting more and more cold and clinical. With smart phones getting smarter and with technology sky rocketing with new developments, taking giant size leaps with each ticking second. In reality, it becomes clear that parallel with this technology, guests are more concerned with the human factor of the service and product they are buying. Traceability, the story and the origin of the service we deliver is becoming more important to guests worldwide.

Reservations is one of the most essential functions for any hospitality establishment. The reservation department for any establishment is where you make contact with your potential guest for the first time. Whether a guest will confirm a reservation, depends on this first encounter. Since some guests, agents and operators may be shopping around for the best value, it is essential to sell the establishment in these first encounters.

Reservations can be done by various sources such as telephone, emails, OTA’s, Travel Agents and Tour Operators. It is key to have the right, highly qualified and motivated professionals to properly sell and manage your establishment’s reservations. Your reservations team, no matter how small or large your establishment, needs to know how to emphasize and sell the property’s advantages.

It is imperative for your reservations team to be trained in every aspect of each source through which a potential guest may book.

It is easy to track the conversion statistics online through your website, OTA’s and channel manager. But how do one track the conversions for calls we are receiving? We live in an era where internet is fast and easily accessible.

With so much attention being placed on online communication such as email, OTA’s and social media, it seems that having a conversation with your actual voice is a lost art. It seems that we have lost our focus with all the developments of the internet. However, answering the telephone is still immensely important for the experience of many businesses, especially in the hospitality industry.

When communicating with someone via email, you have the time to think about your response before sending the email. When communication with someone in the flesh, you have your body language to better translate what you are trying to get across. Whilst talking on the phone, it is all about your voice and the way you speak to the receiver of the call. That is why having the proper training in telephone etiquette is so important.

It takes less than 3 seconds to make your first impression. When the phone rings, someone has made the effort of reaching out to your establishment. You must answer the phone promptly, with an attitude that shows you care that they called.

It all starts with listening. You have to listen carefully to the potential customer and allow them to finish their sentence without being interrupted.

You need to be able to sell the destination, location and the surroundings of the establishment.

Establishments have to make sure their reservations staff receive the correct training in telephone ethics and etiquette to go beyond the price quoting order taking approach. You must implement a sales process which can be customized to make the caller feel special with a more personal feel. Address the caller by their name, ask questions to find out why they are traveling in order to assist them in their needs.

Telephone Ethics is not something that is implemented overnight. It requires many hours of training, creative brain storming and constant motivation to keep it up.

To conclude, phone calls should not be taken lightly. When a potential guest calls you, there is a good chance that this is their first encounter with your establishment and your reservations team need to make a good first impression when answering the call. Great phone manners make people feel better about doing business with you. Having good telephone etiquette is a great starting point for providing a great guest experience.