- Tip 1: When working with guests, perhaps the most important quality you can have is a positive attitude. A good attitude is contagious and can turn a potentially sour situation around. It comes from an inherent desire to help people. Being positive is a great tool to have in your belt when working in guest service and hospitality. Do you have that upbeat attitude?
- Tip 2: As a hospitality provider, you are building a relationship or connection with your guests every time you interact with them. Take the time to get to know them, and find common ground - even if it’s something as simple as a sports score or the weather. Finding that common reality builds rapport; it shows your guest they are not just another guest. Treating each interaction with your guest with sincerity is the personal touch that makes guests look forward to their next visit to your destination.
- Tip 3: We know guest service is important in face to face interactions, but don’t underestimate the importance of carrying that excellent service through to your interactions with guests when on the phone.
Here are few tips that will help you be successful in your telephone interactions.
• Always say the name of your business when answering the call.
• Say your name after saying the business name, "Good morning, VISIT FLORIDA, this is Jane Doe." Saying your name allows the caller to feel like you are willing to take personal responsibility for the call.
• When you put someone on hold, always explain what you are doing, "I am going to put you on hold for a few seconds so that I can find the document you requested."
• Try not to leave someone on hold for more than 30 seconds. If you can’t get back with them within 30 seconds, check back.
• Always explain to the caller who you are transferring them to.
• Always let the person who you are transferring to know who the caller is and what they want or need.
• As the switchboard operator, you are the face of the company. Often you are the first impression a client has of your business. It is your responsibility to make a positive impression.
• Always smile when on the phone. A smile warms up your voice and lets the caller know they can trust and rely on you.
By keeping these tips in mind, your guests will know you care even over the phone.
- Tip 4: When you communicate, keep in mind that even though English is considered the international language of business, it is a mistake to assume that every businessperson or guest speaks good English. Be patient, and remember those who speak English as a second language are often more limited than native speakers. When you communicate cross-culturally, make particular efforts to keep your communication clear, simple and unambiguous.Avoid humor until you know that the person you're communicating with "gets it" and isn't offended by it. Humor is notoriously culture-specific: Many things that pass for humor in one culture can be seen as grossly offensive in another.
Gestures - keep your fingers to yourself. In researching the differences in meaning of various hand gestures from culture to culture, one thing sticks out – fingers. Essentially, a good “rule of thumb” is to keep your fingers together. Even something as seemingly innocuous as pointing, the thumbs-up sign, or the sign for okay can mean something altogether different to guests from other countries. Your safest bet is to only gesture with all your fingers together.
By being informed and conscientious, you can make your international guests feel welcomed and appreciated leaving them with good feelings and a memory of great service they will take home with them.
- Tip 5: Empower your guest service staff by preparing them with answers and guidelines for the most commonly asked questions and requests. Training is important and prepares your front line to know what action to take when confronted with a guest's inquiry or request. Additionally, compiling a list of FAQs and basic policies gives your staff something to defer to so they don't have to hesitate when serving your guests. Quick, confident answers inspire confidence and comfort and ensure guests have an exceptional visit.
- Tip 6: Did you know families make up roughly a quarter of the domestic visitors to Florida? To attract these visitors, your business needs to be family friendly. Hotels and accommodations might consider designating a "kid's corner" in the lobby with activities about Florida, coloring sheets or games. Restaurants can provide a little something to nibble on as soon as a family is seated to keep kids happy and occupied, making everyone's dining experience more enjoyable. No matter your type of tourism business, remember that traveling with children isn't always easy, and anything you can do to help your guests' vacation be stress-free will definitely be appreciated, increasing the likelihood they will return on their next family vacation to Florida.
Brought to you by VISIT FLORIDA.