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Using Checklists For Your Hotel’s Customer Service

Checklist Best Practices | By | 26 May 2016 | 4 minute read

One of the main goals of every hotel is to meet and exceed the requirements of their customers. Hotels depend heavily on clients for profit just like any other business. It’s the little details that can make such a difference to the customer experience, and it’s often this attention to detail that gets overlooked. In order to understand how your customers feel about your service, your hotel customer service managers should have a comprehensive hotel guest service checklist.

A checklist could mean the difference between an average customer experience to something that wows them and gives them a reason to spread the good word, or better yet, return. It’s interesting that even with all the high-tech advancements in our world today, nothing has yet replaced the personalized service experiences delivered by hotel businesses.

How a hotel earns five stars

For a hotel to earn a five star service, certain standards must be met. Hanya Yanagihara, an editor at Conde Nast Traveler notes that hotels must have a 24-hour reception area, on-site restaurant, 24-hour room service and an express dry cleaning service. Top notch hotels do need to maintain high-end facilities, but no one leaves a hotel and says ‘that lobby was beautiful, but the service was bad and I’m going back.’ Customer service is inherently tied to whether or not customers will return or spread the good word.

What really sets top hotels apart is service and surprise. Forbes Travel Guide has a checklist with 800 items and 70% of them are specifically related to service quality. To receive a five-star rating, Forbes reports that bags should arrive in rooms 10 minutes after registration. 90 minutes is the amount of time staff at a pool should offer a complimentary drink. The window of time room service should be delivered is five minutes. And the reception desk and restaurant should be available and open 24 hours.

What a world class hotel looks like

For Boca Raton Resort, a luxury resort requires a five-star luxury service. With 1047 guest rooms and 13 restaurants and bars, they needed to conduct at least three inspections a day. The resort sees 200,000 to 300,000 guests each year and serves about 1.7 million meals. After implementing a digital auditing system, food and beverage guest satisfaction rose by 15 points. Now, they consistently receive 90%-100% guest ratings due to their commitment to real-time improvements and regular audits of their services and facilities.

Customer experience journey

How often do you put yourselves in your customer’s shoes? Taking the customer journey is something we should all do from time to time. For hotels the customer journey can start with driving into the car park, the walk into reception, the room, what they see out of the window, how comfortable the beds are and the cleanliness of the toilets. Everything a guest might see, hear or experience can factor in how they feel about their experience with your hotel.

A positive guest experience is the number one criteria that traveler’s use to select hotels – far outweighing price and location. According to the Harvard Review, customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had poor experiences. Happy guests can increase your profitability.

Checklists make it simple

Checklists enable you to identify the operational shortfalls in your service and immediately rectify them. They ensure everything is working as it should be. Your customer experience checklists could form part of your induction for new staff to provide structure and orientation about your services. They also enable you to see everything from your customer’s perspective from an objective viewpoint. Checklists pinpoint priorities for maintenance, systems and training that will give you the greatest return. Consistency is key so your customers can learn to expect top-notch service and treatment.

To make it simple, categorize the services within your checklist so you can keep track of them easily. The categories should include front desk services, food and beverage, in room, environmental and facilities access, and more. Conducting checklists will inform you whether or not your hotel is providing a top notch experience. The only way to exceed your customer’s expectations is through the use of checklists and regular inspections. You can do that by using a range of different checklists as listed below.

Mystery shopper ratings

A checklist that will be crucial to evaluate the quality of the customer experience is the mystery shopper checklist. The mystery shopper plays the role of a customer, evaluating service on a checklist of criteria. They can measure a set of standards related to their experience and service delivery. This type of checklist is an important tool to help hotels deliver efficient service. Four Season’s arrange their lobby to promote relaxation through the use of a muted colour scheme, lobby layout and fresh floral arrangements each day. It is this kind of detail that can be communicated via a checklist to staff, particularly new staff who require on-site training.

Hotel room inspection

Housekeeping standards are critical for a guests experience. Four Seasons Hotels ensure desk chairs are always pulled out from the desk at a 45 degree angle to make it easier for a guest to sit down. Four magazines are always carefully arranged on a magazine rack. Body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are arranged in the same location for every guest. It is this consistency in service that guests know they will receive.

Restaurant inspections

Having a guest receive a poor experience in your restaurant can be a huge factor in how they rate their overall experience. Regular quality and safety audits can ensure your staff are operating to compliance standards.

Aside from the three checklists mentioned, there are so many more quality audits you can be conducting to gain visibility and ultimately exceed your guests expectations. Maintaining high standards means knowing which services are lacking across your hotel business. Start making informed decisions so you can work towards a world class customer experience.

Start performing quality inspections today with SafetyCulture iAuditor. Find out more about how to use checklists for your hospitality and leisure business.

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