With the growth of social media in today’s day and age, the way hotels are able to communicate and interact with customers has greatly changed. Back in the day if a customer wanted to get in touch with a hotel, they would call, write a letter, send an email, and least conveniently of all, go to the property in person. Since businesses have become increasingly accessible on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks, it is very easy for customers to simply go online and communicate directly with a business in a very public manner.
More hotels have continued to join the Social Search Optimization (SSO) game and currently have a presence on social media. Hoteliers have realized that social media is a great way to market their property and communicate specials to potential customers. Though social media can be a great marketing tool, hotels have to take into consideration that with the ease of communication between users, it must also be seen as a way to connect and communicate with guests. In fact, social media can also be an important way of handling customer service.
Here are a few easy ways that hotels can provide better social customer service immediately:
1. Address Complaints
When people are upset about a situation that has occurred at your hotel, they can easily let out their frustration on social media. Nothing is worse than conducting a search for your hotel on a site like Twitter and finding negative comments written about your hotel. Not only are all of the user’s followers able to view the comments, so is anyone else who does a search for your hotel!
Once you notice a negative comment about your hotel (whether they tagged you directly or not), address the comment as soon as possible. First and foremost, be sure to apologize for the issue. If you feel the issue could be better resolved outside of social media, you could always ask the person to contact you by direct message or give them an email address where they can contact the hotel and explain that you wish to address the issue further. Be aware that if you ask a user on Twitter to direct message you, both you and the user must be following each other. The reason behind asking them to contact you directly is not simply to save face by taking it out of public view, but to be able to communicate more efficiently so you can do your best to remedy the situation. This can be especially true on a site like Twitter where the most you can write in a tweet or message is 140 characters. If you are successful in solving the problem, they may even remove their negative post. The goal is to change the view of an unhappy customer and have them consider your hotel for future stays, just as you would if the guest was directly in front of you. Make sure that the person who is in charge of the social media accounts at your hotel is aware of any mention of your hotel’s name across all social media channels.
2. Reply to Mentions
Not all mentions of your hotel will be regarding complaints. Travelers may have questions about your property, ask for tips regarding the local area, and may even write a post just to compliment your hotel. Be sure to reply to these mentions, even if it is simply a “thank you” for complimenting your property.
By answering questions and providing tips about the local area, your hotel will be providing excellent customer service to guests before they even arrive at the hotel!
3. Assist Customers in the Buying Process
The way travelers search for hotels has greatly changed. A lot of research is done online including browsing through review sites, social media, and hotel websites. On the social media side travelers are able to communicate with their friends, family, and other users about hotels they have been to and ask for recommendations.
In cases where travelers are unsure about what hotel they would like to book in your area, you may find indirect mentions of your hotel within other users’ conversations. Travelers may be asking questions about your hotel, or asking someone to recommend a hotel in your property’s local area. When you see communication such as this taking place, jump right in and join the conversation. Answer questions about your hotel and inform guests about what unique selling points your hotel has to offer. Potential guests will be pleased with your social customer service and may even book a room with your hotel thanks to the interaction!
4. Most Importantly: Respond Right Away
This ties in with activiely monitoring your social media accounts for any mention of your name. Timely responses are a key factor in social customer service. Whether someone sends a tweet to your hotel, leaves a comment on your Facebook, or sends a direct message on social media, the user will expect a quick response. This is especially true on a network like Twitter, which is based on real-time communication. Ultimately, users online will see that your hotel cares about the guest’s needs by providing social customer service along with timely responses.
Remember: A conversation about your hotel exists online – whether or not you are participating. Why not join the conversation and successfully build up your social customer service!