Pro Customer Service Tips: Best Practices for Vacation Rental Managers
Customer service best practices begin with knowing the customer. Today’s consumer audience expect exceptional service paired with exceptional value, and each situation is different. However, there are some pro customer service tips vacation property managers can use daily to ensure owner and guest satisfaction.
To gain insight, we spoke with Mat and Penni Levine, owners of iTrip Vacations® Keystone. The Levines earned a finalist spot for the Customer Service Champion in Business Excellence Award by the Summit County Chamber of Commerce. Read their pro customer service tips and learn how they make a difference.
Pro Customer Service Tips by Keystone Rental Management Team
Remember customer service is always No. 1
In the vacation rental industry, customers are the livelihood of any successful business. Without guests, owners cannot rent their homes and managers have nothing to manage. But how does service keep guests coming back year after year? It’s always at the top of the list.
The Levines: Customer service to our owners and guests is our No. 1 priority. Having happy owners and guests is the backbone to a successful property management company. iTrip Vacations® Keystone takes our job seriously to ensure every guest has a wonderful experience. After check-out, we also follow up with guests to make sure they had a memorable trip. We ask if there is anything we can improve before their next visit.
Excellent service takes a village
However, it’s not just property managers who should provide quality service. Each vacation property manager should partner with the best companies in the area that offer the same level of care. From cleaning and maintenance professionals to those managing marketing and social media, everyone should deliver quality care 24/7.
The Levines: Customer service is equally everyone’s job from the business owner to all support staff. The efforts of our booking, cleaning and maintenance teams all impact the guest experience. We discuss this regularly to ingrain it into our culture. Customer service is not something we do; it is who we strive to be.
Avoid immediate emotions and reactions
Everyone has a bad day. Don’t let that affect the ability to deliver stellar customer service. If you receive a request or concern that seems like an attack, place some distance from the situation. Take 10 minutes to breathe, gather thoughts, reflect and create a solution. Remember the customer may have other stress, and it’s usually not a personal attack on the management.
The Levines: A key to high quality customer service is to always listen to the client. They will tell you directly or indirectly what they want and think, and we are receptive to this input – even if we don’t like what we hear. We strive for continual improvement and must not be defensive in light of a negative client experience.
Empathize, clarify the problem
Politeness and basic manners go a long way in customer service. Say: I’m sorry, please and thank you. Don’t sound like a robot, but treat people as you would your own family and friends. Start by empathizing with the customer; then get to the root of the problem. There are two steps that help achieve these goals:
1) Reassure them you are there for them and listening.
2) Ask this question: To clarify, <this is the problem?>.
This helps managers quickly understand the issue and get a solution. The sooner managers realize the problem, the sooner they can fix it or offer alternate solutions.
Avoid arguing, make it right
Sometimes the customer is wrong. Whatever the situation, customers should still feel valued and respected. Do not argue. Instead, see their side and respond accordingly. In cases that need a point reiterated, do so in a polite manner that never disrespects the customer.
The Levines: Objectively evaluate the feedback, determine what can improve, and make it right for the client. All of us fall short at times. It is how you respond that will be appreciated and remembered.
Admit when you’re wrong
On the flip side, sometimes the customer is right. Keep things simple, admit your mistake and solve the problem. If you cannot correct the immediate issue, offer alternative solutions such as another rental, a free night or free dinner at a local restaurant. The key is to know the problem, address it and make it right.
The Levines: In our business, we serve two customers: property owners and guests. Each have different needs and desires. It is our pleasure to ensure we understand them and meet and exceed their expectations. Our owners expect their homes to receive boutique-level care. Our guests look forward to a fun and relaxing vacation. We strive to provide both and look forward to seeing everyone in Colorado!
Contact Mat and Penni to learn more about iTrip Vacations® Keystone property management and available rentals.
Excellent customer service can generate higher reviews. Read how to improve vacation rental ratings.