The most important question every hotel should ask of their hotel software providersBy Jos Schaap - Founder and CEO of StayNTouch
The most important question every hotel should ask of their hotel software providers
There are many important questions every hotelier should ask before investing in any new hotel software system. There are questions regarding features, functions, integration, SaaS or license, cloud or on premise, training - and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, one of the big questions that often gets overlooked and doesn't get researched enough is the question of service and support.
Service and support of your hotel software platform is integral to the success of your hotel on many levels. Yes, there may be the occasional hiccup during the initial implementation phase, but where the rubber meets the road is when you have issues that impact your operations and your revenue. It could be a system outage or a central interface that fails. However, every time something unexpected occurs to your hotel technology, you want to feel secure that the support and service you receive is quick, effective and rectifies the situation as quickly as possible.
Companies very rarely plan for success but they do plan for failure. They plan for market conditions that could impact their sales, they plan for changes in guest buying habits but planning for success…this seems like a strange thing to do. Companies that plan for success can prepare for the future and staff up their help desk department to effectively meet the needs of their customers. This can be a tricky balancing act, but ensuring that the technology provider that you have partnered with has this "success vision" will be critical for you in the long run.
Here are just some very basic technology service and support realities:
- Happy customers are more likely to tell other hoteliers about your product
- Angry customers gossip more than happy ones
- If you are known for great customer service, it gives you the flexibility to try new things
In a McKinsey report, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer is being treated and supported. This rings incredibly true when delivering selling, implementing and supporting hotel software. Hotels are in the business of delivering great guest service hotel technology providers should echo this important element.
Service and support is important related to client retention. As stated above, when you have an angry customer, they are more likely to look elsewhere but in a White House Office of Consumer Affairs report, it is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a current customer.
Hoteliers are fed up with the quality of service current models offer. The future: human-centric service and support. A human-centric service model revolves around people. It is a model that recognizes clients are a valuable resource, key to a company's success, and therefore all aspects of service and support is designed to go above and beyond to help them. It means anticipating customer issues and addressing them proactively. At StayNTouch, we pride ourselves in delivering amazing high touch, human-centric service and support. It is in our DNA. We know that your property's success depends on our ability to deliver exceptional products and support services. Keeping you informed, being incredibly responsive and adding a consultative approach to the mix are all contributing factors to our support philosophy. It's more than just providing answers; it's an important part of our promise to its clients.
"The service we have received with StayNTouch is not even comparable to any other companies we have come across in the property management systems space. In general, everyone on the team is extremely competent and passionate about the StayNTouch solution. Their service and support is excellent."
Marco Burlimann, Area Manager, Modus Hotels
The line between products and services is blurring, and customer service has become part of the product itself. Keeping service and support top of mind during your PMS purchase decision is imperative. When you're ready to make a move, do your homework. You can use social media outlets as well as LinkedIn groups to read direct feedback from front end users of almost every hotel technology system. Check references and speak to your peers. A long feature list is nice to have, but you should make your choice with a broader framework in mind, keeping service at the top of that list. Not only do you need to know what support channels are available, but also how quickly you'll be helped and with what level of competency.
Jos Schaap is the CEO and founder of StayNTouch. He has a 20+ year track record in hotel software technology. Jos began StayNTouch with the vision of re-inventing the hotel PMS technology, making it simple, mobile and transitioning the software to the cloud. Prior to StayNTouch, Jos spent 17 years at MICROS Systems Inc. (now Oracle Hospitality) as a Senior Vice President in charge of global product development and strategy for the Lodging and eCommerce divisions. During his tenure, MICROS’ hospitality products became the global market leader, growing the company’s revenues from less than $300 million to $1.1 billion. Jos was responsible for introducing a number of new products enabling MICROS to enter all hospitality segments from limited to full-service hotels.