Update Your 800 Message on Hold to Encourage Direct Bookings and Cross-Sell
June 20, 2018 10:18am
by Doug Kennedy
On many levels, marketing in the hotel industry has advanced rapidly, yet at most hotels and brands, the “message on hold” (MOH) scripting is stuck in the 1990’s. Whether you call a hotel directly or call into its central reservations office, after the auto-attendant places you in queue the MOH nearly always direct callers back online again and again throughout the scripting. Here are some common phrases:
When you think about it, this is a major fail for several reasons. For one, most callers found the 800 number they are calling by visiting the same website or app that the MOH is directing them back to!
Usually, such as in the first example paraphrased from a leading brand, the scripting is written in a borderline insulting way, as if it’s informing someone for the first time that there’s this thing called a hotel website where you can book your own room online. Duh!
Secondly, from a customer service perspective the MOH message almost sounds like “Please do whatever it is you need to do online because a) we don’t want to talk to you and b) we don’t staff enough agents to take care of your needs” rather than making it sound as if the time spent waiting will be worth it.
Perhaps the biggest fail of this outdated MOH scripting is that it is missing the chance to tell a captive audience something that really matters to them and that can simultaneously help the hotel generate additional revenue and reduce the costs of customer acquisition. When you take time to listen to what today’s callers are actually asking once their calls are answered, you will find they most often fall into one of these profiles, all of which require human assistance.
The above two prototypes represent the hottest opportunities to increase call conversion and capture more bookings.
In all of the above scenarios, the person holding actually needs a real live human being to assist them, not a self-service experience at a website. They cannot be fully assisted with the AI voices and chat-bots that some brands are working on so diligently to completely replace human agents.
So instead of forcing callers to listen to MOH messages that at best annoy and at worst insult someone’s computer skills, marketers should update their MOH to ensure callers that their wait time will be well invested. This requires more than saying “We are assisting other callers and will get to you when we are able to do so.” Here are some examples and suggestions:
MOH scripting for those calling directly to an in-house, on-site reservations office should go even further and promote the value of reaching a local area expert. The above sample scripting should be revised to emphasize the increasingly unique advantage of being able to speak with someone who really knows the answers a caller seeks. So instead, start the above sample script with “You have reached our in-house, on-site reservations office…”
In summary, take a moment to review the MOH that your hotel’s callers are hearing right now every day while they wait patiently for assistance. Chances are that you can provide a more welcoming message, while encouraging callers to hang in there instead of hanging up.
Tags: doug kennedy,
message on hold,
Doug Kennedy is President of the Kennedy Training Network, Inc. a leading provider of hotel sales, guest service, reservations, and front desk training programs and telephone mystery shopping services for the lodging and hospitality industry. Doug continues to be a fixture on the industry’s conference circuit for hotel companies, brands and associations, as he been for over two decades. Since 1996, Doug’s monthly training articles have been published worldwide, making him one of the most widely read hospitality industry authorities. Visit KTN at www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com or email him directly firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug is the author of “So You REALLY Like Working With People? - Five Principles for Hospitality Excellence.”
Contact: Doug Kennedy
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