Cost-Cutting In The Hospitality Industry

How a telephone system can save money and improve guest experiences

As rising fuel prices and global economic upheaval continue to increase the cost of flights and leisure travel, local and international hospitality businesses are feeling the pinch.

Companies in the sector need to evaluate how they can improve guest experiences while consolidating costs, improving efficiencies and adding value. Here’s how relooking their communication infrastructure can help.

A better service experience

In a Harvard Business Review article, sales research and advisory expert Matthew Dixon suggests that the hotel business is one of the few industries that inspires loyalty by delighting its customers. But exemplary service can come at a premium. Sufficient staff training and seamless communication channels must be positioned to deliver a memorable customer experience.

This is where switching from a traditional terrestrial telephone system can significantly impact the customer experience. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), cloud-hosted business phone systems have several features that improve the customer experience.

VoIP telephone systems do everything traditional phone systems do – like transferring, holding and forwarding calls. But because cloud-based VoIP phone systems make calls via the internet, users can benefit from added digital tools that traditional phone systems don’t offer.

Says Euphoria Telecom CTO Nic Laschinger, “If a customer or guest calls in with a query, a cloud-based VoIP system simplifies the interaction by linking the phone call to other digital communication platforms via one central hub – or digital helpdesk. Helpdesk tools make it easier for staff to track customer queries or keep track of leads.

“Customer service agents can access a customer’s call history and information based on caller ID. So, long, painful verification processes and waiting times aren’t a problem anymore.”

Overall affordability

Laschinger continues, “Setting up a traditional phone system with multiple extensions can be expensive. There is more hardware to pay for upfront and extensive cabling needed to get the system working. A cloud-based PBX system is completely hosted online, requiring less cabling as you don’t need telephone cables and network cables.

“As calls are made over the Internet, they can be fielded from mobile devices or laptops as well as from dedicated VoIP handsets. This means front desk staff or call centre agents don’t need to be on-site to deal with customer queries.

“For example, if a hotel group’s customer service team attends to more than one property in the group, the agents can work from home and the group won’t need to lease separate call centre premises.

“Running costs for VoIP, cloud-based business phone solutions are lower than for landlines as maintenance is generally handled remotely by an external service provider. And depending on the provider, fixed call rates make external calls more affordable.”

Automation and quality control

VoIP cloud-hosted telephone systems include a virtual assistant feature, which will automatically route calls or keep them on hold until someone is free to answer them. And automated options can be set up to answer simple queries without human interaction.

Says Laschinger, “No business should be missing calls or frustrating customers with a busy signal on the other end of the line anymore. Automation has facilitated a much smoother ride for incoming callers, and hospitality businesses can use these to keep customer waiting times to a minimum.”

Employers need to monitor attendance and performance whether hospitality staff are on-site or off. Laschinger suggests that digital telephony offers a solution for that, too: “Quality control measures are essential in any service-driven industry. With a VoIP call centre system, you can set up call recording and call monitoring to track employees’ performance and the customer experience. This allows you to monitor phone traffic and average call length. And time and attendance monitoring tools are included to keep track of employees’ hours.”

Laschinger concludes, “Integrated, digitally-driven communication systems have become a differentiator for many leading hospitality companies. They build a bridge between customer satisfaction and sustainable business practices. Both the customer experience and business outcomes are better for it in the long-term.”

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