Work Experience Week 1

man standing in front of front desk

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

A posted here that I had to do 2 weeks of work experience related to customer service for my course, and I was worried that I wouldn’t get anywhere. Thankfully the hotel where my sister works accepted me to do the 2 weeks so I started there last Monday. And I have to say…. It was the LONGEST week of my entire life!

I don’t even know why!! It just dragged. I woke up on Wednesday and my heart dropped when I realised that it was only Wednesday, and that I had another 2 days to do. I work 9-5 Monday to Friday so during the week it’s quiet, so that is probably why it just seemed to drag. Then on Friday it was mad because a lot were checking in for the weekend. I work as a receptionist there.

The first day I really didn’t do much at all. The other receptionist did everything and I just kind of looked and listened to her, so that day was rather long!

Tuesday the front house manager was in and he got stuck into showing me things and getting me to practice how to use the hotel operating system. I never answered the phone but he was in the office talking to another person and to my HORROR the phone rang! I was looking at it thinking “Oh god I don’t want to answer it!” I ran into where he was and he was still talking and I thought “Oh I better answer it!” So I did and I was so nervous! I forget what the phone call was about and I probably didn’t have a clue what to say but I did it anyway. The front house manager came out to me and he said he was very surprised that I answered it on my second day. He trained other people and they didn’t answer it at all during their first week. He said that they just let it ring!

Now the only reason I answered it was because there was literally no one else to do it, so I felt I had to! I thought that if a person came over to the desk and there’s me standing next to a ringing phone then it wouldn’t look good. So for the past few days I was answering phones and usually passing it on to another receptionist or just asking them to call back. I successfully reserved a room for a lady though which I was so happy about. Usually I get flustered but I calmed down and took all her details and the room type and everything so when I put the phone down the manager came out and he said I did very well. Apparently he was listening in the office.

But if anyone who has worked with the Opera system in a hotel knows how difficult it is to use. This is the system that the hotel uses and it’s just so complicated. I can’t describe how hard it is, but I was shocked at the amount of things I have to learn. The special rates for rooms, special rates for different businesses, how to do multiple bookings in one persons name, printing out VAT receipts, loads of different billing payments for the different ways that people booked such as through booking.com, expedia.com, companies who pay their employees to stay at the hotel. The list is really endless! I thought it would be much simpler!

So for the past week I’ve been trying to get my head around the system but it’s very difficult. And the thing is If someone asks about something specific I can’t even try and guess because I’ll get it wrong. You either know it or you don’t, which made me feel very helpless.

Simple things I didn’t know, like what food is served in the restaurant, what time the gym closes at, but I’m slowly learning the basics of the job.

On Friday I learned how to book taxis and even that isn’t straightforward. I was trying to call a local taxi and it just wasn’t working. So I had to ask one of the receptionists and she said “Oh you have to put 9 at the beginning of the number”. Like how could I have known that!? Something simple like calling a number and I needed help.

I’ve another week to do and I really do wish that it was only for 1 week! It’s just so long and I actually miss going to school! I’ve learned a lot and met some lovely people but I’d rather go back to school now. I don’t get paid which doesn’t help!

I realise that I am good at talking to guests and I do have good people skills, but I’ve also realised how much I don’t know, that receptionists have to put up with a lot of sh*t from guests, and they really should be paid more than what they do. (I’ll talk about that in another post)

I hope next week goes faster and before I know it it will be 5 o clock on Friday!

Aisling

Learning How To Deal With A Complaint

businessman office mobile phone finance

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

One of my modules in my course is Customer Service, so for my latest assignment I had to learn how to deal with a complaint! First the teacher told us to write down a scenario where you had to pick 3 complaints. Mine was at a shoe shop and I bought a pair of expensive waterproof shoes. The first complaint was that after a week the shoes were letting in water. The second complaint was when I went back to the shop the staff member was rude to me, and finally after I got a replacement the soles of the new shoes were coming off. So my teacher had to choose someone who would deal with my complaint from a bag. Then I had to pretend to be the customer and the other student had to try to sort out my problem.

So as usual I was quite nervous about this! We were also being recorded by audio which made it worse! So for the complaint that I had to deal with was that the customer was in my chemist and the staff members were talking and ignoring her, then when she got their attention the staff member didn’t have a clue about the products, and finally the item she asked them to put away for her couldn’t be found. So I was the manager and I had to sort out the issue for her!

Our teacher told to do it in stages: first we had to introduce ourselves to the customer and that we were the manager/supervisor. Then the customer/student had to tell us their complaints and we had to quickly jot down the 3 main points. Then I had to say the 3 items back to her. (To make sure I was correct). After this I had to explain to her how sorry I was that all that happened to her. Basically I had to sympathise with her and tell her I understand why she is so upset. I then had to thank her and appreciate that they told me. Finally I had to offer solutions. For my complaint I said that I will do more customer service training with my staff, I will show the staff member around the chemist and spend an hour explaining the products to her so she will know more about them, then finally I said I would make the staff member aware where to put the items for collection, and then I offered a 10% discount to the customer for her next item she buys.

So I had to hit all of those points to get a perfect score, and I did! I was nervous because I never really had to deal with a complaint before, and I was afraid that I would get the information wrong and all that, but thankfully I did well!

I think this was really good practise for the real thing. Now I know how to approach a complaint and how to handle it well! I also had to do a phone call where me and another partner had to make up a phone call and then we had to be recorded and tested on how we handle it. I had to answer the phone promptly, professionally and give relevant answers and information to the caller. Then I had to end it correctly. That one was much easier because we could just read our dialogue.

So for the past week I was stressing over that so now I’m glad that it’s done. It wasn’t as bad as I thought and once I started I was fine. Everybody else was nervous too but I think we all did well. Everyone was there while we were doing it so that was nerve wracking, but it’s nice to know that everyone is in the same boat and there’s no competition or anything. Everyone clapped when each person finished too.

I’ve a few more of those types of assessments but at least now I know that I can do them now. I just need more confidence in myself!

Aisling