Customer Service Management of DUKES LONDON
This management report discusses customer service management in DUKES LONDON. The introduction gives an overview of the hotel, examining its demographic profile and global consumer trends the hotel leverages on, as well as describe the probable expectations for its customers. The main body covers the service blueprint to show how the journey of a DUKES LONDON customer for their arrival at the hotel as well as identifying the social distancing measures to be incorporated. Finally, the describes the conclusion as well as giving recommendations on social distancing measures to be implemented at DUKES LONDON.
Customer Service Management of DUKES LONDON
Good customer service is needed in every part of hospitality. Poor customer service can ruin the reputation of a hotel. This is because when customers get bad experiences from the hotel, they can never visit the hotel again or even possibly discourage others from visiting (Hudson & Hudson 2017). As a result, the hotel will lose customer revenue in the future as well as indirectly lose the prospective client who could get them a lot of business in the future. For this reason, it is important to have good customer service which assists in turning clients into ambassadors of the business because they will buy the services and products as well as give valuable feedback which will generate more revenue for the hotel (Hudson & Hudson 2017). The global Covid-19 pandemic has forced hospitality facilities to close so that they can adhere to Government regulations during the lockdown in the UK. This has led to the temporary closure of many hotels because of the social distancing measures which were put in place in March 2020 (Gov. UK 2020b). The hospitality industry has had several discussions regarding hotel operation when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. Social distancing measures are projected to remain for a long period. The Government has released guidelines regarding the way the hospitality industry players should operate. Nonetheless, due to the way hospitality is primarily a social industry, major problems arise concerning the creation of a customer experience and adhering to these rules at the same time (Gov. UK 2020a). This paper is going to focus on DUKES LONDON in regards to operating when the Covid-19 measures such as social distancing are easing, and how the hotel can implement them.
DUKES LONDON is a luxury hotel situated at St. James’s Place. It is a five-star hotel that is known for its luxury décor and high-quality services offered by its staff. The hotel was opened in 1908 and with this long history, on 20th March 2020, it was temporarily closed for the first time. According to its website, the values of the hotel include warm and welcoming, quintessentially British, immaculately presented, and Committed to exceptional service (Dukes Hotel 2020). The demographic profile refers to a description of a certain type of clients such as age, income, and sex. The demographic profile of DUKES LONDON customers includes individual tourists, business travelers, small conference groups, and tour groups. Individuals holding high paying jobs such as accountants, business people, and lawyers are some of the professionals visiting DUKES LONDON. In regards to global customer trends, it means the global consumption behaviors shared by consumers (CITATION). DUKES LONDON has leveraged global trends such as catering to millennials, technology explosion, the influx of international visitors, new roles for staff, destination promotion, real-damage control, and unique perks (Dukes Hotel 2020). The likely expectations of a typical DUKES LONDON customer include services and facilities whereby clients’ needs are met through Wi-Fi, Spa, Fitness center, laundry, bar, restaurant, room service, and steam room/hammam. DUKES LONDON also has 90 rooms including nine junior suites, five deluxe suites, and one stunning penthouse with a small balcony; there are three other rooms types, ranging from Dukes to Luxury (Dukes Hotel 2020). There is a variety of food and drinks available to customers. The clients get value for their money due to the quality of products and services which are offered. The hotel is accessible to also the gusts with disabilities as ramps are provided for the steps at the entrance and there is a lift to all floors and one accessible room. The clients are likely to expect a reassuringly old-fashioned style and character dating from 1908 with the recent makeover to cleverly nudge the hotel in the modern era. Finally, they expect it to be family-friendly though the atmosphere is very grown-up because of the cots and children’s menu which are available (Dukes Hotel 2020).
A service blueprint refers to a diagram that shows the relationships between the components of a service such as people, digital or physical evidence, as well as processes, all of which are directly related to touchpoints in a certain client journey (Hummel & murphy 2011). Service blueprints allow the organization to have a detailed understanding of its underlying processes and resources, and its services, which are unseen or seen to the customer. Understanding these aspects allows a business to have a strategic advantage. It also helps organizations to identify the weaknesses. Finally, organizations can use service blueprints to identify opportunities they can maximize (Hummel & murphy 2011). They include the support process, onstage interaction, physical evidence, backstage interaction, and customer journey/actions.
When a customer visits DUKES LONDON, they are received at the entrance of the hotel. Here, the door is opened for them and they are welcome. The doorman tells the bell desk to pick-up the baggage brought by the guests. The baggage and luggage are brought into the hotel’s lobby and during cases when the desk team is unavailable, the doorman helps the guests with the baggage. Guests are then escorted to the reception desk and this is mainly done by the porter/bellboy (Lu et al. 2015). A welcome drink and a welcome gift are provided to the guests if any. The first step involves receiving and registering the guests. The guests are received at the reception and are welcomed with a pleasant and cheerful smile. It is important to address them with their surname if known. Thereafter, the guests are asked to provide their reservation details such as last name, confirmation number, and booking source among others (Lu et al. 2015). They are asked to provide their identity card or passport. The receptionist also requests the guests to provide their business cards. This is followed by guest registration by completing the registration card or registering them. This involves verifying the information of the guests against the reservation to ensure there is accuracy regarding name, date, as well as modes of payment. The check-in time is stamped on the registration card. The check-in status is confirmed in the hotel’s software. The guests are asked to conduct a final check of the registration card for their signatures (Lu et al. 2015). A discussion of room preferences with the guests according to availability is done or they can select an available room with is “ready to let”, and they are allocated the room. It is important to note the details of the guests’ expected departure as well as any special requests.
The next step involves the room allocation. In the case of a repeat guest, the room is assigned based on their preferences. Accurate status of the room information is needed to allocate a guest room and for this purpose, a room stack or room status is available at the reception (Lu et al. 2015). Once the guest has been given a room, the reception ensures they code the room as sold. A key card of related room number is prepared by entering the departure and arrival date, rate, and offering it to the customer for signature. The guest or bellboy is given the key. The guest’s arrival is then recorded on the daily arrival list.
Advance payment is secured for purposes of security. This is mainly done through agreeing to take up a credit card or cash deposits (Lu et al. 2015). The hotel should always issue a receipt and record the payment. Thereafter, the guests move to the information service whereby they are informed of the services or facilities offered by the hotel. This is significant in helping the customers familiarize with the facilities and services as well as increase the sale. During this time, the receptionist acknowledges the guests about the services, facilities, and activities available with location and direction. The receptionist also inquires if the customer needs a wake-up call and if so, this is recorded accurately (Lu et al. 2015).
The next step involves completing the check-in formalities whereby the bellboy escorts the customers to their allocated room. Finally, the guest’s folio is opened and any old bill copies are cleared. Key information for billing purposes is recorded such as the mode of payment, departure date, and room rate. The bill in the guest’s folio box is filed together with the completed registration card (Lu et al. 2015).
Physical evidence refers to everything that clients can see or use to influence their perception or judgment about the DUKES LONDON service delivery. In the case of DUKES LONDit’s it’s reassuring old-fashion dating from 1908 and heritage is key to its success through the recent makeover las continued to cleverly nudge it into the modern era. The oil paintings line the walls of the hotel’s lobby and the bar and the wood-paneled lift are attractive to customers. Also, the refreshed façade makes arriving at the hotel’s courtyard is appealing to many clients (Dukes Hotel 2020).
The facilities and services focus on meeting the needs of the customers thus ensuring efficiency. For instance, DUKES LONDON has a well-equipped steam room, 24-hour gym, and treatment rooms with facials and massages at reasonable prices. There are also bikes which can be hired and the hotel can arrange picnics to take the client to one of the parks in London. Other facilities and services include a spa, steam room, fitness center, Wi-Fi, room service, laundry, bar, and restaurant (Dukes Hotel 2020).
In regards to the rooms, DUKES LONDON has 90 rooms including one stunning penthouse with a small balcony, nine junior suites, and five deluxe suites. Also, other room types range from Dukes to Luxury. The recent refurbishment has brought new beds and updated décor and rooms now feel refreshed. All these are elegant, light, and have subtle, muted tones that easily blend with the antique furniture (Dukes Hotel 2020). Moreover, there are gorgeous bathrooms that feature Floris products. These bright and more feminine Duchess rooms are tailored to female guests. All the rooms have a Handy phone which acts as a guide to the city, mobile internet prover, and phone (Dukes Hotel 2020).
There are excellent food and drink types for different types of customers. The menus are well-tailored to feature dishes such as English rabbit leg, braised ox cheek, and South coast with a shellfish stew. The tea and breakfast are superb, with full table service and dishes such as Cumberland sausage brioche and boiled eggs and soldiers. The hotel has a comfortable traditionally furnished sitting room on the ground on the ground floor and a canopy-covered Cigar and Cognac Garden (Dukes Hotel 2020). Finally, access for customers with disabilities has been made easier as ramps have been provided for the steps at the entrance and there are lifts to all floors as well as one accessible room.
This refers to face-to-face actions taking place between the interactions of employees and customers. It includes all the interactions by hotel employees in regard to inquiries and actions by customers. Also, it involves front desk interactions, dining facilities interactions, housekeeping interactions, and recreational interactions (Tax, McCutcheon & Wilkinson 2013 2013). Also, these interactions include greeting clients positively, checking clients in, handling clients’ individual information, arranging delivery of baggage, handling customer inquiries, and helping with booking their transport (Tax, McCutcheon & Wilkinson 2013). All these processes deliver physical proof that can be used to influence the customers’ perceptions. “On Stage” functions need a certain empowerment level on the employees’ part because they are the ones who need to adjust their delivery of service to address specific situations at hand (Feistad 2018).
These services relate to the processes conducted by support departments. They usually follow the front functions in the cycle of service delivery (Feistad 2018). “Backstage” activities are invisible by customers/guests. The employees working in this function do not usually deal or communicate directly with customers. In DUKES LONDON, “backstage” functions include kitchen, housekeeping, hotel security, finance, human resource, and sales and marketing among others. All these functions are significant to support the “on stage” functions although clients do not experience them directly. For instance, overall cleanliness and good housekeeping are important in ensuring the customers are satisfied at the hotel. Also, sales and marketing are significant as it markets the hotel to the right clients as well as helping the hotel to rely on brand values in its daily activities to achieve profitability (Feistad 2018).
This refers to all the tangibles that clients are exposed to and can influence their perceptions’ quality (Feistad 2018). The support services for DUKES LONDON include the reservation system which is used by clients in making reservations when they want to visit the hotel. Also, the reservations system is used in the process of registration when clients are checking in at the hotel. This is also used in process checkout during customer departure. The other support system includes food preparation whereby food orders are taken when the client calls for food service (Tax, McCutcheon & Wilkinson 2013).
In regards to social distancing measures, the physical evidence achieves this by ensuring that the guest’s lifts are only available to a maximum of two customers, who are known to each other and the hotel kindly advises customers to use the staircase when possible (Douglas et al. 2020). Also, there is increased sanitization and disinfection frequency of all high touchpoints throughout the hotel. The Private Members Health Club introduced private areas for training and this is disinfected regularly. Additionally, the installation of hand sanitizing stations in the hotel lobby and across all common areas and other hotel outlets achieves social distancing (Douglas et al. 2020).
“On stage” social distancing measures include contactless payment methods being encouraged at the hotel. Also, limiting the number of people guests in the hotel’s food and beverage outlet is another measure. Room service has also continued to be provided by delivering to the guest room door. The hotel has achieved social distancing measures by establishing strict chair and table sanitization procedures between guest seating periods and placing single-use menus across all outlets (Douglas et al. 2020).
“Backstage” social distancing measures include ensuring the housekeeping team is available on request to service the guest’s room when it has been vacated. Also, guests have been encouraged to use the toilet in their rooms and not the public facilities in the hotel. There has been a suspension of guest laundry services until further notice. The introduction of no physical contact policy has ensured that social distancing measures have been observed. In relation to support processes, the social distancing measures include adherence to social distancing measures in all public areas as well as implementing a one-way system throughout the hotel (Douglas et al. 2020).
Social distancing measures came at a critical moment after hotels were forced to close so that they can adhere to government measures. Covid-19 led to the temporal closure of DUKE LONDON, though the social distancing measures have helped in the resumption of the hotel’s operations. Despite social distancing measures being projected to remain for a long time, the guidelines issued to hotels can help them operate though this industry is primarily a social one. In regards to metrics, the social distancing measures have led to a significant decrease in the demand for hotel services as most people are trying as much as they can to stay at home (Douglas et al. 2020). These measures have resulted in a sharp decline in the revenues and occupancies of hotels. The social distancing measures have brought new regulations such as lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, as well as mobility and travel restrictions which led to temporal closure of many hospitality businesses. This resulted in decreasing the demand for the businesses which were allowed to continue with their operations (Douglas et al. 2020). Also, these restrictions led to a sudden decline in the revenues and occupancies of the hotels. Nonetheless, with the easing of these restrictions, customers are now able to dine-in restaurants at a reduced capacity with strict guidelines on social distancing as well as the gradual reduction of travel and mobility travel restrictions both internationally and domestically (Douglas et al. 2020).
The recommendations on the implementation of social distancing measures at DULES LONDON include using automated cloud technologies as preventive measures. This should be through the introduction of mobile check-ins and check-outs which would mean that customers should not spend their time queuing up at the reception (Douglas et al. 2020). This can be attained through customers submitting a copy of their documents through a mobile application beforehand and when they arrive at the hotel, they only say their unique code and unlock the hotel room door without interacting with the reception desk staff (Douglas et al. 2020).
Staff education on how to frequently clean and disinfect touched surfaces should be done as well as remind them to inform clients about wearing surgical masks and maintain ing physical distance. The hotel should ensure the social distance to be maintained of about 1.5 to 2 meters especially in areas where staff and customers tend to gather for a longer time. There should also be restrictions on the maximum number of people allowed at the restaurant or lobby or other areas in the hotel. Moreover, when social distancing is deemed difficult to maintain, DUKES LONDON should consider using barrier methods of protection like the use of plastic teller panels (Douglas et al. 2020).