I was recently promoted to PBX Manager at a 4 diamond hotel. Our service scores in PBX have been awful. Can you help?
We can help. Good phone skills are a lost art. If you are experiencing poor scores when it comes to handling phone calls, focus on the basics. The secret to PBX is consistency. Here are some basic tips:
1. Make it your goal to have every single phone call answered within 3 rings. Test to make sure that it is happening. Call the hotel during different times of the day and score each shift. Don’t forget night audit. We often call night audit and don’t get an answer even after 20 rings.
2. Place a small mirror by every phone in the PBX office and teach every operator to answer every call with a smile in their voice. If they have a smile in their voice, they also have a smile on their face… hence the mirror.
Basics on answering external calls
All calls should be answered by using a greeting (good morning, good afternoon, good evening), announcing the name of the hotel, and announcing the name of the person answering the call, and an offer to help. Example: Good morning, thank you for calling the World’s Best Hotel, this is April, How may I help you?
The secret here is consistency. The phone should be answered the same by every operator on every shift.
Basics on answering internal calls
Again, all calls should be answered by using a greeting (good morning, good afternoon, good evening), announcing the name of the department, and announcing the name of the person answering the call, and an offer to help. Example: Good morning, thank you for calling Guest Services, this is April, How may I help you?
This same format should be used by every person who answers a phone in the entire hotel. It doesn’t matter if a guest calls the front desk, room service, or housekeeping. Consistency is the key.
Also, when answering an internal call, you must use the guest’s name at least once during the call. This is one of the most important keys to building loyalty. Also, answering the phone by saying ‘good afternoon, Smith party’ does not count as using the guest’s name. If your chain requires you to answer that way, that is fine but be sure to use the guest’s name at least one other time. We prefer that you end every call with ‘thank you Mr. Smith’ or ‘my pleasure to connect you, Mr. Smith’.
How to transfer calls
Teach your team to say ‘my pleasure to connect you’ when transferring a call instead of ‘sure’ or ‘one moment’ or any other bad habits they are currently using. It makes it clear to the guest that you are transferring the call. Many times a simple question such as ‘do you have rooms available tonight?’ is answered with ‘one moment’ and then the call is transferred to a reservations automated attendant. You must make it clear that you are transferring the call if you are not handling the request.
How to place guests on hold
The key to remember is to always ASK a guest to hold by saying ‘may I place you on hold for a moment?’ instead of ‘hold please’. Try not to put the caller on hold more than one time during the call without an explanation.
Should we use an automated attendant?
Automated attendants are fine as a second resort if all operators are busy but should never be the first option. A caller should always get a real live person. Hotels are service-focused and it should show. That is what separates us from calling Citibank or Microsoft Tech Support. If you are tired of just transferring half of your calls to Reservations and are tempted to put in an automated attendant, think again. Spend the proper time in promoting your reservations phone number instead so calls go to the right place in the first place.
Have any tips of your own? Post them below! Have a question that you would like answered? Post it below or send it to us via the contact page.