About chats and waiting in lines | Hotelway.me

We are a society of instant gratification. For better or worse, we have grown accustomed to receiving exactly what we require, instantaneously. The same applies to customer service. No one wants to wait in line. To be fair, there is no time in history in which people enjoyed waiting in lines. However, only in recent times has technology made near-instant service possible.

David Maister discusses the psychology of waiting in line in his 2005 article [1]. He posits that while people’s perceptions about waiting vary extensively across cultures, classes and the types of services, waiting significantly affects the overall image of the service. Waiting can cost purchases, a weakened public image and lost repeat customers. Many service management experts agree that how waiting is managed is crucial to the overall customer experience. Many would also agree that excellent customer service requires near-zero waiting times.

How long will guests wait on your hotel chat for a response? Fifteen seconds? Two minutes? There probably is no expectation of an instant response, but guests will surely not wait for minutes either. According to Arise Virtual Solutions [2], most people choose chat over other channels of communication precisely because of its quick response times and ease of use. According to their 2017 study, 84% of respondents will abandon a chat if the answer takes more than two minutes. Moreover, over half do so in less than a minute. This means that an excellent chat service must answer every query in less than 45 seconds.

We also need to account for chatbots. While instant and in some contexts excellent, chatbots of today are not ‘human’ enough to provide the security and friendliness guests deserve. In other words, an online hotel chat needs to be a right mix of efficiency and humanity.

How on earth does a hotel do that? Hotels are quite unfortunately known for their slow response times, and frankly outdated channels of communication, with most hotels still using only phones and email for guest communication. Furthermore, hotels are unique from each other, meaning that just hiring a cheap “call centre” to handle all online communication simply will not do enough for guests. Each hotel has its policies, services and quirks that make learning them difficult for a non-staff member to handle efficiently.

We also did the math to this question: What is needed for a medium-sized hotel to answer all online chats:

– In less than 45 seconds

– From 8am to 10pm

– Every day, including weekends and holidays

Best case scenario, you need four to five employees who are ready to drop a phone call, guest conversation and all else to reply to chats. Someone for the mornings, evenings, weekends and holidays. Perhaps you need an extra pair of eyes and hands for the busiest times of day. That is not a small investment. But that is not the best way to do it, either.

We at Hotelway can make it happen. With our existing service we can provide the exact same value for your hotel at a fraction of the cost. We make guests feel as if they were talking to your staff, while promoting sales and additional services. We provide security and friendly service while taking care of 90% of your guest communication.

And we answer within 35 seconds.

[1] https://www.columbia.edu/~ww2040/4615S13/Psychology_of_Waiting_Lines.pdf

[2] https://www.arise.com/resources/blog/customer-service-frustration-series-chat-response-times