By Taz Bareham — 27 Jun 2014
Giving your customers excellent customer service means that they get a clear idea of what will happen, you treat them with respect and courtesy, and make them feel special.
Why? Because when your customers book an experience with you, they expect to get their money’s worth.
An online booking system can help you to enhance their experience every step of the way. Here’s how.
At the beginning of their experience with you, your customer needs to be well-informed. They won’t make a booking without a clear idea of what it is you’re offering.
An online booking system will let you give them all the information they need to make a decision:
Bonus points for a separate FAQs page with all the typical inquiries you get over the phone.
When customers walk in, they want your staff to treat them with courtesy and respect. They also want to be attended to quickly and have their needs met without waiting too long.
An online booking system keeps your staff organized so they know what’s going on. Because it reduces phone inquiries, it will also allow your staff to better service your customers when they arrive because they will have more time to.
For example, one of our customers, a helicopter tour operator, said that Rezdy’s online booking system takes away much of the manual work that his receptionist was doing, so that now she’s able to focus on servicing customers at the facility.
Part of your customer service is being able to service your customers from afar over the internet and on the phone.
Online, your customers want you to have an easily navigable website, so they can get to what they need quickly. On the phone they want to get to someone quickly, and not be put on hold for too long or have to leave a message and wait for you to call back.
Because an online booking system manages the entire process from start to finish, customers should not have to call in to get information like availability and how they can book. Instead, they can self-serve and be satisfied that they got what they were looking for without intervention from you.
In this day and age, customers expect nothing less than a quick and easy booking process, with instant confirmation that it has been received. Those websites asking customers to fill out a form to request a booking force customers to send emails back and forth before a booking can be made. Why not give them the means to do it straight away, at their own convenience?
A booking system makes you look professional, because you can offer secure online payments. Your real time availability also means they don’t have to call and check whether there is room for them on any particular day.
Of course, once a booking is made, you still need to communicate with them properly. Otherwise they will wonder if you have forgotten about them – or they may even forget about you!
An online booking system will allow you to automate reminder emails, which tell them what to bring, and follow-up emails, which ask for feedback.
You should also consider sending promotional emails to get them to come back or refer a friend in the area (if they’re travelers).
Money is always a touchy subject, so you need to be extremely professional in this area. Your customers will expect an easy way to pay you, and an instant receipt confirming their booking. The experience should not be a clunky process.
Your booking system should seamlessly allow customers to pay online by themselves, through a variety of methods (bank transfer, credit card, cash on day, PayPal), so that they can self-serve.
If your tour or activity is sensitive to weather (and therefore at high risk of having many cancellations), then it would be smart to enforce deferred payment processing, where you store credit card details without charging until you know what to charge (ie. the full amount or the cancellation fee).
Finally, your business needs to keep training employees so that your own people can exercise their customer service skills. After all, consistency is expected. This is why your system must be incredibly easy to learn how to use.
Make sure it is a part of each new staff’s onboarding agenda to learn how to use your online booking system, so that they can maintain the standard of what each customer experiences.
If you are interested in educating yourself on your online booking options, the information in our guide will prevent you from choosing one that’s wrong for your business.