Congratulations! Your hotel chain has grown to the point it needs a central reservations office, or CRO, to handle the volume of reservations. However, you’ve noticed that your hotel CRO staff members seem a little harried. They’re all on the phone and the hold lights are flashing everywhere.
This may not be a sign that all is well, since a customer who has to wait too long is a customer lost. Few people have the time or patience to wait even a few minutes to make a hotel reservation via phone. They’ll hang up and move on to the competition rather than cool their heels listening to soothing music.
So how do you know if your hotel CRO is running as efficiently as possible?
The Answer’s in the Phone Data
If you’re using an automated phone system that manages incoming calls, you most likely have access to activity reports that contain data such as:
- Number of “failed” customers.
These are callers who never became customers because they hung up while on hold.
- Average time a customer waits on hold.
It’s good to shoot for a time-on-hold goal. Many top-tier companies aim to answer about 80 percent of calls with a live person within 20 seconds. If you find your CRO is consistently falling short of this goal, it could be time to add more staff.
- How long a customer service representative spends on each call.
Depending on the complexity of your hotel chain’s rate structure, along with the type of travelers who book at your facilities, the average call time can be anywhere from two to five minutes. Call times under two minutes aren’t necessarily desirable—this could mean a representative isn’t spending enough time sharing information or upselling, or that the calls are ending without the customer making a reservation.
- Percentage of calls that end with a reservation made.
This is a data point that should be looked at over a longer period of time since conversion rates can vary greatly by the day of the week or the time of year. For example, you’ll have times you’re turning people away because you’re sold out, and slow times when almost every call results in a booking, which can skew the statistics.
Note: The number of calls lost because all the lines are busy can usually only be obtained from the phone company.
If you’d like to convert more callers into loyal customers, SmarteHotels.com can help. Contact us today!