3 Tools for Better Customer Service

It all comes down to one thing: communication.

Property managers cannot provide good customer service without one very important thing: clear communication. Even the most luxurious properties nestled among the most beautiful mountains will get bad reviews if communication between the guest and property manager falls flat. Here are three tools that will help you provide better, more responsive customer service without burdening your staff:

1. Your Property Management Software

It’s easy to think about your property management software as a reservation system that tracks guest information and payments before their stay. You should also think of your property management software as something you can use during their stay.

Different property managers track complaints and concerns in different parts of their software. Wherever you track complaints, make sure to include the date and time of the initial complaint and note whether the guest called, stopped by, or emailed. Anytime someone on your team speaks with the guest or takes an action to resolve the complaint, they should add to this log of communication.

Keeping records of complaints in your vacation rental management software helps ensure your team is always on the same page. When the entire history of a complaint can be found with just a few clicks, anyone on the team can step in to take over an escalating situation. Written records can also be used to explain steps you tried to take if a guest becomes combative or makes untrue claims.

2. A Mobile Hospitality App

Mobile hospitality apps can be your best customer service tool. Why? Hospitality apps give guests the information they want immediately without having to contact your team. If they can’t find what they’re looking for in the app, a “Contact Us” button will direct them to the person who can most efficiently answer their question.

Some property managers prefer face-to-face interaction with guests because it helps them form strong relationships. While guest management apps aren’t able to replace in-person connections, some guests may prefer the convenience of an app over a phone call. This is especially true of Millennials who expect instant, digital customer service.  

3. Formal Processes that Empower Your Employees

Established processes for handling guest complaints can save your whole staff a lot of stress. They not only ensure that guests speak to someone who is best able to resolve their concern, but help your staff understand what steps are appropriate to take when responding to a complaint.

If you don’t already have a written or formal plan, start first by identifying the person they’re most likely to approach with a complaint. Then establish how much authority that person has to resolve their complaint. Do they have authority to rebook guests into another unit? Can they issue refunds? If so, up to what amount? If there are limits to the authority of the first point of contact, identify who can give them permission to take additional steps to resolve a complaint.

If you’re responding to a less-than-stellar review left online by an unhappy guest, your processes may be a little different. You should first identify who is responsible for checking new reviews on your distribution channels to make sure no reviews slip through the cracks. Then, establish who should respond to the review and how. (The how is up to you, but it’s a smart idea to respond to an online review in the same place it was published. More information on this in our whitepaper, Handshakes & Hashtags.)