Did you know?
73% of hotel guests want local recommendations when surveyed for the Monscierge Guest Experience Management (GEM) Report.
In my past life as an event planner, I worked with crowd-facing vendors who would typically claim their ability to “read the room” during their pitch. Until that point, I had never really thought of this as a function unto itself, but more as an extension of customer service. As such, it seemed to me to be an inborn characteristic as opposed to a learned skill.
Over the years, I became interested in learning about how to read body language and apply that to customer service, and realized that some of these things can indeed be taught. For instance, if you are able to read a guest’s body language as they approach the front desk, you can predict the type of discourse you will be having with them and prepare accordingly. Most people can do this quite easily, especially if a guest is extremely angry or tired. On the other hand, many people do not know that changing their own body language can diffuse a tense interaction before it even begins.
Some brands are already incorporating body language skills into their employee training programs to improve customer service – and it’s working. But can these skills be useful on a larger scale? In terms of “reading the room”, body language can be used to enhance the social spaces of hotel lobbies, dining areas, and even the elevators.
Social lobby spaces are trending more and more, and the ability to read the room is an enormous help in easing the comfort of your guests. Providing more upbeat music can help to break the ice for uncomfortable guests. Seating can be rearranged based on current mood, allowing for large groups or more intimate conversation. Keeping the crowd relaxed requires different measures for business travelers, sports teams on the road, or vacationers.
I’ve seen people who are born to read a room, and others who have learned it. Still others seem to have no clue what is going on beyond their own nose. Where does your staff fall on this scale? Do you incorporate this type of training for each employee, or is this left to the manager?