From Call Centers to Text Centers: How Two-Way Texting Is Transforming Hospitality

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From Call Centers to Text Centers: How Two-Way Texting Is Transforming Hospitality

By Karen Voci, VP of Product Marketing at Everyware Inc - 04/19/2019

Online reviews can either make or break hotels. In fact, 95% of all customers will read a review before booking, and 91% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. It is therefore crucial for any hospitality business to channel considerable efforts into maintaining a top rating and a great online reputation.

To do this, hotels should consider eliminate old-fashioned customer service calls for modern day texting. With 75% of customers saying it takes too long to reach a live agent, it is time hotel reservation and call centers start taking a fresh approach that works for all parties.

Text messaging communication allows hotels respond immediately to customer service issues with a simple text. This gives hotels the tools to create and maintain a slick online reputation, subsequently driving sales and attracting loyal guests. Here’s why hotels should start to move away from call centers and towards a new communication platform with two-way texting.

Fewer calls and no hold times

Did you know that 35% of callers will hang up within one minute of waiting? To improve hold times and response rates, hotels can provide their customers with a convenient platform to text in their questions and receive immediate responses. With phone calls, agents can only deal with one customer at a time, but an SMS texting solution can concurrently manage multiple conversations with numerous guests. Texting solutions store all previous conversations, which also ensures agents are handling every customer with the best practices and knowledge.

However, switching to texting solutions won’t mean the complete demise of customer service calls. Some customers still prefer human voice interaction compared to talking via text, and sometimes a call is needed to properly understand and address the problem. Text communication alleviates call center congestion by allowing customers to text in and request a call back as opposed to waiting on the line. This results in happier customers and future guests that are more likely to return.

Automated messaging increases efficiency

In addition to happy customers and positive reviews, texting solutions will also increase hotel in-house efficiency. To lighten some of the stress from the front desk, automated messages can deal with customer specific queries. For example, guests who require a more complex answer or help can be sent automated messages explaining that a live agent will contact them directly to rectify the issue.

After a phone call, texting platforms can even send a follow up message or confirmation which personalizes the customer experience and demonstrates that the company is going the extra mile. And with advancements in chatbot technology, increasing amounts of questions can be answered with automation. Even when reservation centers are closed, or the front desk is preoccupied, a text message can be sent to keep around the clock customer service.

SMS = Happier customers

Two-way texting platforms provide guests with a direct line of communication to improve their experience before, during and after their stay. It allows a follow-up survey to be sent in a text message either with a direct link or the customer can submit a 1-10 rating of their overall experience. This ensures hotels are always striving to offer professional customer care and polish their reputation. Unlike an email survey which will likely go un-opened, 72% of smartphone owners check their phone at least once an hour. Guests will be more inclined to fill out a survey if it is conveniently sent to them in a text message versus email.

Text messaging is a win-win situation for the hotel and the guest. It enhances engagement and makes life more convenient for the customer. With more consumers opting to text over speaking on the phone, hotels need to adapt to this strategy to keep up with the needs of guests. Many businesses are already unlocking the power of SMS to accelerate productivity, scale labor, and increase responsiveness for customers. Hotels which make the move to turn their call and reservation centers into text centers will reduce wait times, improve guests overall experience, and boost their online reputation.

About the Author

Karen Voci is VP of Product Marketing at Everyware Inc, a technology company providing a powerful conversational payment gateway that utilizes two-way text messaging to enhance customer service and streamline payment processing.