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Recharge Your Quality Assurance Program for the New Year

Coyle Hospitality Group—a market leader in designing and implementing mystery shopping programs, quality assurance consulting, and market research services exclusively to hospitality companies worldwide—explains why re-energizing standard compliance and quality assurance programs can be highly advantageous in the new year.

It’s a new year, and your team has likely made some new year’s resolutions. So you should ask yourself: have you as a company? Right now is the perfect time to reassess your existing quality assurance program to make sure it is truly measuring the complete guest experience. The effectiveness of your QA program is based on complete standards awareness, but your business has likely evolved since you last evaluated your brand standards. If you are like most hotels and restaurants, you probably have a few standards that are no longer relevant. With help from Coyle, losing that weight will finally be easy for a change.

Coyle uses a relevant selection of Key Indicators within its quality assurance program to more accurately measure the guest experience; these include:

  • Service: Our service Key Indicator measures the capable completion of tasks within your hotel operation. This includes whether or not service is timely, proactive, professional, and attentive, and whether or not staff members are helpful, knowledgeable, upbeat, and alert. For example, are your restaurant staff members carefully attending to tables? Or are water glasses remaining empty, finished plates being left on tables, and guests waiting untimely periods for checks to be delivered? This kind of service is quite important to the guest–it is what makes the guest feel valued at your hotel. If a high level of service is not provided, it can redirect a hotel stay from a positive experience to a negative one.
  • Engagement: Hospitality is, at its core, all about guest engagement. That is why our hospitality Key Indicator measures warmth, positivity, friendliness, enthusiasm, personalization, and–of course–engagement, in all interactions. Is your spa receptionist engaging guests in warm and friendly conversation as they wait to be greeted by therapists or as they take tours through the facility? When a hotel staff member–in any department–does not engage the guest in a sincerely positive manner, the guest feels like an unwelcome, undervalued nuisance rather than an appreciated guest. You want the guest to feel so comfortable it is if he is at home, and perfecting these pieces is the key to that achievement.
  • Attention to Detail: Presentation should not be overlooked in any aspect of the hotel stay. It is incredibly important because people are inherently attracted to the aesthetically pleasing. We associate many standards with this Key Indicator including whether or not physical items are clean and in good condition, technical items are functional, and temperature and music levels are comfortable. A guest will be turned off by a restroom stall that lacks toilet paper or a guestroom light with the bulb burnt out. Continuously checking up on these details can help avoid the need for service recovery and ensure the happiest of stays for the guest.
  • Service Recovery: Let’s face it–things go wrong, and it is impossible to provide completely seamless and trouble-free service to all guests 100% of the time. Knowing this, it is not only about how few incidents you have, but more importantly about how well you handle those incidents. This Key Indicator measures urgency, resolution, and resourcefulness when complaints arise, as well as whether or not requests are owned and alternative solutions are provided. When a guest complains about the loud noises coming from the children in the guestroom next door that are inhibiting a good night’s sleep, does your front desk agent empathize and offer a room switch? Or, is the agent neutral and passive, apologizing but offering no real resolution? The way complaints are handled is a direct look into how well-managed a hotel is, and guests recognize the difference between high and low quality management. Service recovery can truly make or break a guest experience.
  • First and Last Impressions: The first impression sets the foundation for the entire hotel stay; get it wrong, and you may be dealing with an ornery guest for the next few days. Similarly, the last impression is the final interaction the guest has with the hotel; if something goes awry, TripAdvisor will be hearing all about it, and the guest may forget that everything else during the stay went so smoothly. There is nothing worse than an unstaffed front door where guests are not greeted upon arrival and must search for the front desk on their own accord. Likewise, when a guest is not offered help with luggage and transportation needs are not assessed upon departure, value is not felt. These tiny yet meaningful details are the backbone and basics of the guest experience, and they must be treated as such.

Once your customized brand standards are decided upon for your property, we strategically cross-index these Key Indicators so that you know what they mean in terms of guest satisfaction levels. These indicators are exclusive to Coyle’s quality assurance program and will better provide the complete story to your guest’s experience.

Coyle’s Key Indicators are the language of the guest. This is how the guest perceives the quality of the hotel experience, and these are the terms they use in their social networks. It is certainly good to know how your Front Desk performs as a unit in all the guest disciplines, but it is much more useful to know that your Engagement score is a low outlier. Why? Because it represents a cross-section measure on the entire guest experience, and it pinpoints the most crucial area of need.

When measured together, Coyle’s Key Indicator’s fulfillment scores help clients develop and maintain a well-rounded, effective, and seamless operation. Maintaining a healthy balance of all of these aspects is the only way to successfully ensure high guest satisfaction. Do you know which areas of guest engagement will bring you the highest opportunity to make a lasting impression? Attention to Detail and Cleanliness have a negative BETA because guests will not rave about a clean room, but they will be merciless if it is dirty. However, Service Recovery has an equally positive and negative BETA. Perform well, and guests will rave about the stay. However, perform poorly, and you will never be forgiven.

Work with Coyle to include these elements in your new quality assurance program, and you can be sure that you are truly measuring what the guest really cares about. Allow Coyle to assist you in reassessing your QA program for 2012, and your new program will be weighted correctly, providing accurate benchmarks for tracking progress.

Coyle develops quality assurance programs and measures brand standards for over 200 hospitality companies worldwide. If you would like to learn more about Coyle’s services, please visit our website, contact us online, or call us at 212-629-2083 ext. 106.