Leveraging internal knowledge to enhance guest experience
A well-managed knowledge base brings many direct benefits to a guest's experience, not least by enabling operational teams to work more efficiently.
- No one can remember everything: Relying on memory for internal knowledge is not a sustainable method. It is experience that helps incorporate the necessary information without the need to search for it
- Training teams to seek and find the information they need allows for unlimited knowledge
- Documenting requires formalising procedures, which is highly beneficial for all employees
- Information must be easily accessible
- All staff need to be enlisted to share knowledge internally, by involving them in writing, proofreading, contributing ideas and topics, and so on.
What is an internal knowledge base?
An internal knowledge base (also called an intranet) is a collection of information: documents, procedures, lists, contacts, etc. available to employees to help them carry out their work. It is accessible online and to all employees at any time, enabling staff to train themselves.
How can good internal knowledge management improve the guest experience?
⏱️ Employees are more efficient
There's no need to go into detail about the benefits of an accessible and comprehensive knowledge base for employees. On a day-to-day basis, they can resolve uncertainties, answer questions or simply refresh their memories.
🤝 Internal operations are optimised
As operational agents are more efficient with faster access to information, operations are smoother with less friction. Staff can respond more quickly to the questions or requests of guests, and more easily resolve the incidents that they face.
✅ Guests' requests are processed faster
Formalizing the procedure for handling guests' requests not only ensures that each stage is followed, but also that an employee doesn't waste time thinking about how to deal with each subject. They are guided through the entire process.
⚠️ Incidents are corrected more quickly
The ABCs of guest satisfaction is that their stay should be the best it can be, without a hitch or friction. If this should arrive, any incident should be dealt with as quickly as possible. Having a ready-to-use procedure with a list of steps to follow is incredibly effective.
💬 Internal communication is smoother
Optimised internal knowledge helps to reduce miscommunication between teams that prevent the proper exchange and transmission of information. Wider collaboration is facilitated by sharing knowledge.
🛎️ The guest experience is personalised
For example, by centralising different behaviours, procedures or special offers by type of guest or scenario, staff in contact with guests are better able to adapt their approach, the message, and therefore the guest-relationship. The experience is also seamless for guests, regardless of the level of experience of the staff involved.
ℹ️ Capitalise on internal knowledge
A well-organised knowledge base makes it possible to record the implicit or verbal knowledge that can prove key to organisation and day-to-day efficiency. Hence the importance of involving all employees to capitalise on the contribution that each can make to internal knowledge.
🆕 Recruits are up and running faster
An organised, centralised and up-to-date knowledge base is obviously an essential point for new recruits , who have to pick up an enormous amount of knowledge and know-how all at once. They even benefit from a greater knowledge base, in contrast to an establishment where in-house knowledge is not an important consideration. In a sector with high staff turnover, speed of training and learning are crucial.
📊 Needs are better anticipated
As knowledge is more in-depth, internal data analysis is more accessible. Offering proactive solutions is within the reach of all employees, improving internal organisation and the overall guest experience.
😌 Employees are more satisfied
When you provide your team with the tools and resources to do their job well, they are all the more satisfied and produce better quality work. Greater employee satisfaction helps to reduce staff turnover, which is clearly beneficial for the establishment.
What are the risks of not having a clear, accessible knowledge base?
- Guest satisfaction and loyalty stagnate or decline: A guest's experience is strongly affected by the fluidity of internal operations and communication. It can be negatively affected if agents, being ill-informed, unknowingly give customers the wrong information. If access to information is difficult, this will mean longer response times to guest queries, which has a direct impact on guest satisfaction, also affecting their loyalty.
- Employee satisfaction is also at risk: not having the tools to do a good job inevitably threatens well-being at work, and thus employee commitment. New recruits can also work less quickly, or are even less well integrated into the team.
What should go in your knowledge base?
- Information about the product/service : history of the hotel/group, rooms, special features, anecdotes, etc.
- All procedures needed to deal with the different situations that may arise for the employee (welcoming a new type of guest, a special request, a guest walk-in, . .. )
- Documentation for each team: HR, maintenance, IT, catering, bar, reception, etc.
- Promotional offers and marketing material
- Events, tourist recommendations
- An F.A.Qs. with the most frequently asked questions from employees, and/or the most frequently asked questions from guests
- Guest feedback
- Internal knowledge of staff who are in direct contact with guests (advice, recommendations, good practices, etc.).
The best practices for creating an effective knowledge base
👮 Appoint a Knowledge Manager
The Knowledge Manager handles all documentation and ensures that each item complies with guidelines (date, title, organisation of files, structure of the document, appointments, references, etc.). They will check for duplication and repetition, any necessary updates, the accuracy of information, and ensure that useful subjects are covered.
🔎 Identifying the right profiles for each team
In addition to the Knowledge Manager, it may be useful to have a representative for each team, to assist the Knowledge Manager in finding subjects, organising files, etc. Useful skills such as organisation, written fluency, the ability to simplify information, consistency, technical knowledge, etc. will help determine who will be these representatives.
📑 Establish and cultivate an internal culture of sharing knowledge
It's important that every employee gets involved in knowledge sharing, either by updating the documents they consult, making new ones that are missing, or sharing their ideas for improvement. Every document created must be complete, easy to read and accessible to a new-starter. To achieve this, management must integrate this knowledge-sharing culture into its values and procedures.
📈 Set up a monitoring system with KPIs
Unfortunately, the will of our teams is not always enough to keep a knowledge base up to date, which is why it's a good idea to set up KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to monitor how well the knowledge base is performing: number of articles updated, created, reorganization of folders, compliance, etc.
📄 Avoid incorporating pdf documents
Except in the case of standard documents to be printed(contracts, flyers, etc.), it is preferable to "convert" your documents (doc, pdf, txt, presentations, etc.) into knowledge base articles. Not only will updating be simpler and better managed, but you'll also be indexing the content of these documents: the search tool will then be able to suggest them in the results lists.
What makes a good knowledge base article?
- A clear and concise title: A new-starter should be able to understand the subject of the article without prior knowledge
- The document is well spaced: Paragraphs are succinct; limit large paragraphs and adapt formatting according to the type of information(remark, warning message, conditions, etc.); making reading easier is a time-saver for all readers.
- A picture's worth a thousand words : If possible, screenshots, diagrams and illustrations should be include to make your comments more comprehensible
- The language is simple : No abbreviations or terms not understandable by beginners (or if need be integrate a manual or lexicon with a link on the word)
- Keep documents up to date by checking them regularly, perhaps adding a necessary date of update; also include the date of creation/update if it's not visible
- Organise folders clearly to group documents by theme/subject
Discover an intranet dedicated to the hotel industry
Discover the hotel intranet solution to improve and capitalise on your in-house knowledge base . Easily centralise your procedures, documentation, information, useful links, etc. in a space shared by your teams and accessible online from any device.