When supervisors and managers listen in to phone calls recorded with the TRACK Pulse system, the most common concern is whether reservations sales agents are using sales skills such as listening, asking investigative questions, selling personalized benefits and of course closing the sale.  However, we should also be looking to eliminate the habit which so many agents still have, which is to use crutch words, slang and colloquialisms.  

Based on the conversations I hear from our KTN clients who have TRACK Pulse, there’s an awful lot of “and-ah” sellers out there! For example, “Tell you about the hotel? Sure! We have a pool, and-ah, a restaurant, and-ah, a bar, and-ah, wireless Internet.” I also frequently hear agents use slang such as “uh-huh,” “yep,” and the one I find the most annoying which is “no problem.”  Now unless you work at a resort in Jamaica, in which case it would be charming to hear that wonderful accent, this word is just too casual. What we are in effect saying is “Your request normally IS a problem, but since you sound like a nice person, for today only, it will be no problem. However if you call back tomorrow, it just might be a problem.”  

What really sounds odd to callers is when agents use local colloquialisms, which of course are words used in various geographic locations. For example, if you ask someone from Massachusetts about the food in the hotel restaurant they will tell you “Oh, it’s wicked good!” In the Deep South they will ask for your patience as the are “Fixin’ to check on that” for you.  Out in the Western USA they over-use “like.” For example, “We have like a pool, and like a restaurant, and like a bar…” Might as well say “It’s not really a bar, but it looks ‘like’ a bar.”

On a related note, we also need to pay attention to the words being used to describe our hotel and resort experiences, such as the views, décor, food, beach, skiing, golf and other activities. Seems to me that all a lot of agents say is “beautiful,” “nice,” and “great.”  “We have a great location with beautiful views, the hotel is really great” just does not cut it when we are charging hundreds or thousands of dollars to sleep in our guest rooms.  

So when you review call recordings, take note not only of how sales techniques are being used, but also of the first impressions agents are presenting for those web-surfing guests who dial our 800 numbers.