How hoteliers can dramatically improve the performance of their hotel chatbot.
A hotel chatbot is great, but just like any other tool, it has its limitations. Choosing a great technology is a huge success factor. However, if you want to deliver fantastic results, your own input is an essential part of the equation.
This article gives you 4 smart tips to make your hotel chatbot excellent at handling customers’ requests.
Before we start let’s get one thing straight. The chatbot technology you use must be very good at matching customer questions to the right answers. However, what’s in the answer itself, is 100% up to you.
So what happens if you decide that the answer to questions related to check-in is I like banana bread? Well, no prizes for guessing what your hotel chatbot will answer when somebody asks about check-in time!
Flawed answers will make conversations derail and no amount of artificial intelligence will help you. This sound advice will. So let’s get started!
Address topics rather than specific questions
We’re all different. Each customer has his own context and way of looking at any specific topic. Chatbots do not improvise. They use scripted answers that have to fit all contexts. When your chatbot is confident that a customer is asking for something related to check-in, it will trigger the associated template answer. When creating your template answers make sure that you cover all the possible angles.
Human language is complex. Hotel chatbots are able to make out the difference between questions related to check-in and questions about check-out. However, do NOT expect your chatbot to be perfect at discerning between check-in and early check-in. These 2 intents are just too close to each other. At what time can I arrive? Can I have an early check-in? Does early check-in have an extra cost? These are all variations of the same topic and must be covered by the answer you’ll provide about check-in.
Example: Check-in information
If your answer is just covering the check-in time then sometimes it will work.
But some other times it will lead to disaster because the angle from which the customer is going to ask will be slightly different.
What you need to do is to make sure that you cover all the information about check-in in your answer.
Tie up loose ends
If your answer is not precise enough, you can be sure that customers will ask for more details and that will push your hotel chatbot into making a mistake. Your customers ask you what they really want to know and won’t let go until they do. They deserve precision and certainty.
Example: Swimming pool information
This is a real example that I saw in a hotel in Brittany. Here clearly the chatbot gave a vague answer and the customer wasn’t satisfied. He asked for more details, pushing the chatbot to make a mistake. When dealing with simple questions like this, the chatbot doesn’t refer to the previous question to answer the next. Thus, if the customer asks for more info without mentioning the swimming pool again, the chatbot is logically lost in translation.
A better way to answer would be to share the precise opening time and the information pertaining to the most frequent questions that guests ask about the swimming pool. The challenge is to identify the most frequent questions that customers always ask about the swimming pool and answer them in a really brief way.
Other loose ends you have to look out for are the services you don’t provide. If you don’t provide a particular service, tell them how they could still enjoy it during their time in your city. You don’t have a gym, a car park or a spa? That’s no problem at all, so long as you can provide some easy, alternate arrangements for them.
Example 1: Parking space
Example 2: Do you have a gym?
Don’t trap customers in your hotel chatbot
Sometimes, a detailed answer covering every angle of a topic, such as a spa or a restaurant menu, for example, could get too long. In these kinds of situations, the trick is to give the essential information and tell your customer where he can find more details if needed.
- Short URLs are very useful in doing this because they do not occupy much space and are clickable from a chatbot. They can point either to a specific part of your website or a PDF if it’s a menu or a spa brochure. A smart tip here is to upload your PDF on Google Drive and use the shareable link in your chatbot.
- Email or phone contacts are sometimes the only viable solution. In many spas, each member of the team has a different specialty and focuses on a specific type of massage. They have hectic schedules. In that case, providing a phone number and an email address is a perfect solution.
Example 1 – Spa
This answer is really clear. 90% of customers will find the information they want immediately and others will be able to get more details very easily. This is because the chatbot pointed exactly to the right place for them to look.
The first answers you script will definitely have some flaws. That can’t be avoided. It is called learning. The good news is that you will notice it very fast because they will cause mistakes. Be sure to have a regular look at your chatbot conversation history and when you spot a log where the bot understood the idea but the scripted answer did not satisfy the customer, make sure to adjust it. It is that simple.
This is how a hotelier from Bilbao improved his airport answer and reduced dramatically the mistakes related to these questions just by understanding what his customers were really asking for and giving them the information they really needed.