Give Your Guests More This Season with Advanced Phone Technology
The holidays are here and the hospitality industry has begun spreading cheer with festive parties and seasonal promotions. Last year’s strong holiday season made 2018 the best year for restaurants since 2015, and this year the majority of consumers report they will spend more than a third of their holiday budget on travel and entertainment. So whether it’s busy shoppers just popping in for a quick bite, or friends meeting for an annual tradition, local establishments are sure to see an increase not only in foot traffic, but also in terms of phone calls.
Managing the phone line can be a major challenge for local restaurants. Calls go unanswered when hosts and cashiers are torn between picking up the phone and providing excellent service for in-person guests. However, making the phone a priority is an important part of your holidays. Despite living in a world full of texting and online orders, sometimes a phone call is the fastest way for a customer to know they are getting accurate and up-to-date information. In fact, a recent study found that 60% of consumers prefer to pick up the phone to get in touch with local businesses instead of emailing them or contacting them via social media.
Here are three ways you can use advanced phone technology to make your customers’ holidays a little happier:
1. Train employees with real examples of great customer service
If you’re hiring seasonal employees to keep up with the pace of busy holidays, be sure they get the same quality training your long-term hires receive. Teaching all of your employees how to engage with customers and answer commonly asked questions could mean the difference between making a reservation or not. If you have a phone system that offers call recordings, you can use recordings while training employees to showcase examples of positive customer interactions for your business. Also, difficult customer service situations which were resolved effectively by your staff can also improve training. Learning how to overcome difficult situations by listening to examples will ensure that your employees know what to do when they encounter them. In addition to recordings, some phone systems even provide transcripts, which should be reviewed often in order to get ahead of any customer service issues and give specific feedback to individual employees.
2. Staff appropriately based on the most frequent call times
You’ll probably look at historical sales data, neighborhood traffic patterns and nearby events when considering your holiday staffing needs. But, have you ever considered the number of calls you receive? Knowing which hour of day and day of week customers are most likely to call your business can help you plan to be well-staffed and meet the consumer demand. . In some cases, like private dining requests, corporate event planning, or large catering orders, missing a call can lead to thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
3. Monitor call transcripts and recording for frequently asked questions
When the holiday rush hits, you might be lucky if your employees can even answer the phone, and there definitely won’t be time for taking detailed and accurate phone messages, or making a note of the 10 separate people who have called about a specific menu item that day. Recording and transcription features that allow you to listen to audio and review transcripts from both answered and unanswered calls. These features help you find out which questions are being asked most often so you can add to your inventory or increase supplies as needed-- like ingredients for that extra popular and yummy dessert. You can also use call details to inform your marketing strategy by posting on social media about popular dishes or using signage to let people know about your happy hour specials.
Whether you serve specialty sandwiches with local brews or a unique selection of small plates, answering calls with intelligence provides improved visibility to help you offer better customer service, making the phone your friend, not your foe during this holiday season.
If you want to step up your productivity and profitability, ‘tis the season to invest in your phone line.
About the Author
Bob Summers is general manager of CallJoy, which was built within Area 120, Google’s internal incubator for experimental ideas. CallJoy is an easy-to-use cloud-based phone agent that enables small business owners to delight customers.