Humans and AI: How to Improve Guest Services in a New Collaborative Way
March 14, 2019 2:54pm
By Raj Singh
It's commonly known that assembly line workers often experience burnout from the repetitive, mind-numbing nature of their jobs. In their instance, though, there's not much they can do on the job to battle their burnout and job dissatisfaction that still allows them to retain their jobs. It's a take-it-or-leave-it situation. The parallel in hospitality guest services - the frontline employee who fields repetitive, oftentimes mundane guest requests all day. Fortunately, there's an emerging alternative: a new breed of collaborative solution where humans and artificial intelligence (AI) work together. This hybrid approach to managing guest service fosters a win-win-win scenario, one that benefits employees, guests and hotel operators alike. Let's explore how this impacts hotels today.
The Guest Services Grind
Don't get me wrong. People in hospitality like serving people - it's what they do, and generally why they were drawn to the industry in the first place. But day-in, day-out, guests pose a lot of the same exact questions, have the same needs, request the same information: "What's the WiFi password?" "How do I get to the hotel gym?" "I'd like to have some more towels sent to my room." "When's checkout?" Fielding these same questions over and over again can start to feel like Groundhog's Day, and that's when burnout can set in.
According to the Deloitte Workplace Burnout Survey, even passionate employees can suffer frequent burnout which affects how they feel about their company and their job:
AI To the Rescue
Enter AI solutions – initiatives that relieve front line staff of some of the rinse-repeat cycles that lead to burnout and disengagement. AI can process volumes of data at scale. One single AI solution can take in multiple and concurrent inquiries and simultaneously send back appropriate responses. In hospitality, this means AI can be used to automate answers to common FAQs and manage multiple guest queries at the same time. Questions get asked and answered through an AI agent that guests access through their smartphone. This kind of AI agent - the "smartconcierge" - provides relevant, satisfying, instant answers to guests while at the same time relieving the employee of having to repeatedly do so (or do so as often).
Smartconcierges have the intelligence to also know when they cannot help a guest – when a human guest services agent needs to enter the equation. The smartconcierge then notifies the human agent and hands-off the entire conversation, context included, to the human agent so she can seamlessly pick up exactly where the AI agent left off. This limits guest frustration at having to start over, which in turn means a better guest experience. (Guests don't like boring repetitive actions any more than employees do!)
With the smartconcierge in place as a guest's first go-to, the human guest services agent can instead focus on unique or higher-level, more stimulating problem-solving. This kind of AI solution actually ends up better engaging employees by as much as eight percent per year, as research conducted by Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration has shown. Research has also shown that better-engaged hotel employees directly correlates to employee retention and increased guest satisfaction, proven by higher Net Promoter Scores and TripAdvisor ratings. The employees win, the guests win, the hotelier wins - that's the win-win-win trifecta needed to succeed in this competitive market.
Other Benefits to Hospitality AI-Human Collaboration
This winning combination of human and AI collaboration also has more hidden benefits but ones that are just as impactful:
The application of human and AI collaboration in hospitality creates far stronger guest and employee hotel experiences. If your hotel is looking to excel at experience, you need to explore this kind of collaboration today.
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Product design expert Raj Singh is CEO at Go Moment®, a Google-backed company dedicated to making customer service instant. Go Moment's award-winning smartconcierge Ivy®, as seen on NBC, is the world's largest guest engagement automation platform for hotels. Singh brings cross-discipline design, technology, and marketing experience from hundreds of large-scale technology projects for leading brands like Virgin, Lady Gaga, and HEB Grocery Company.
Contact: Deborah Pevenstein
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