Interview with April Weatherly, Director of Telephony Optimization & Analytics, Red Lion Hotels Corporation (RLHC)
I’ve been managing call centers most of my career, about 20 years. There have been some technological changes, definitely, but the basic goal has not changed, and that’s making the reservation while surpassing guest expectations. The bottom line is still the same, too; there is little to no money to be made in the call center as an offering itself. And that means that there’s much more to it than just a room full of people answering phones and taking reservations.
So how does managing a CRO work?
There are two sides; outside, from the CRO side, and inside from the hotel side. From the CRO side for us, it’s all about transparency. We really need to have a clear idea of the goals and objectives from a guest’s point of view. So, the best way we have found to deal with this is to be transparent. For instance, in the booking engine, there are places to upload photos and descriptions. If that feature is not fully used, things are not transparent to the guest or to the agent. Remember, this is your opportunity to showcase the hotel both to the guest and to the CRO agent. Utilizing these features is a great example of being transparent and allowing the guest to see the hotel through your eyes. As with most things at RLHC, we believe that you’re only going to get out of something what you are willing to put in. So, even though we receive several million calls each year, we don’t ever see the CRO, or anything else for that matter, as set it and forget it.
What do you feel is the ideal way of managing a CRO?
I really think you have to see the CRO as an extension of your business, because that’s really what it is. If you want exceptional performance, your hotel must drive it. We must engage with the guest until they are satisfied. That means from the way we answer the phone all the way to how we end the call. Nothing should happen by accident. The ADR and revenue the CRO drives into our hotels is a direct result of the interactions the agents have with our guests.
What are your main duties and goals in your role with Red Lion?
I have several main areas that I oversee. These are managing our CRO vendors and relationships, managing our telephony structure and how the guests are greeted, data analytics and reporting within the company, plus all our onboarding with hotels in the CRO. My primary focus, though, is improving the guest experience through our CRO channels, and creating new and improved ways of interacting with the guests through our telephony infrastructure.
That’s a lot to manage. How does your CRO provider figure into the equation?
I like to keep things simple and direct and not waste anyone’s time. I expect a lot from our vendors because I expect a lot from myself and the RLHC team. About five years ago, I successfully managed our onboarding to SHR’s system with Sally Ramos, your VP of Implementations and Consortia, and Dan Edmonds, your VP of Client Success and Support. I can tell you right now, you have to have the right people on both sides like I did. It just won’t work unless you have a solid partnership, sharp people, and a mutual understanding of expectations. Things are going to happen that you do not plan on, so you need that sense of security that you have the right people on your side.
Click here for the full interview.
SHR Windsurfer CRO Voice brings the excellent customer experience from your call center to your guests as they book. With features thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of chains and independent properties alike, the application brings the most relevant information to agents, reducing talk times, and increasing booking speeds.
SERVICING IN-HOUSE AND EXTERNAL CALL CENTERS AROUND THE WORLD
The Windsurfer CRO cloud-based application allows hoteliers to supply their in-house or external call centers with the most up-to-date booking information directly from the content and information distributed to the CRS. In addition, we can connect you to a call center, providing a toll-free number, skill-based routing, configuration, and initial property training for the agents.
Windsurfer CRO also provides an easy-to-use application UI, smoothly leading the agents through all necessary steps and relevant information, helping to increase conversions as it becomes a true extension of your sales force.
Per Reservation Pricing
Private Label Voice service is provided by SHR Call Centers.
Use with your own call center, and we will train your agents.
Browser-based and accessible to multiple call centers.
WHY WINDSURFER CRO?
Configurable Search Options
Designed to meet the needs of both multi-property and multi-chain clients.
Full Property Details
Enables call center users to have full property details available at their fingertips to better-service guest requests.
Easy Guest Loop Up
Reduces talk times, reservation processing times, supporting increased guest loyalty.
Gives agents full visibility into the shoulder dates of the guest’s original search to offer additional available dates and/or rates to complete the booking.
READY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WINDSURFER CRO VOICE? CONTACT US!
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