Sheraton Atlanta's New Feedback System Speaks Volumes for Guest Satisfaction

| October 28, 2008

Guests staying at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel don't have to fill out comment cards, write letters to the GM, or make 800 calls to corporate call centers. This property is among the first in the nation to benefit from real time text and audio reporting of their guests' spoken feedback, allowing knowledge and resolution of customer issues before they leave the property. Recently launched by Atlanta-based VOC Systems, Inc., the system has been found to help raise satisfaction scores, reduce costs and heighten employee morale.

"This system has allowed us to nearly double our guest feedback and enabled us to respond to guest issues in a more timely manner. As a result, we have made a significant improvement in our overall guest satisfaction index," says Niles Harris, general manager at the Sheraton Atlanta. "Additionally, our hotel staff is encouraged and motivated because many employees are named in compliments, and subsequently recognized and rewarded by senior management for jobs well done."

VOC Systems' Express-Way guest feedback system captures and distributes full text versions of guests' verbatim spoken comments about their experiences, including audio links, within minutes of the comment event. Spoken feedback is captured via in-room phones (by dialing an extension) and/or touch screen kiosks located throughout the hotel. Guests appreciate the ease, convenience and non-confrontational interface, as well as the feeling of empowerment in recording spoken thoughts freely for the general manager while issues and memories are fresh. The result is high guest participation, on-site service recovery opportunities, and enhanced guest satisfaction.

"Each month we have a large volume of opportunities to understand and resolve guest issues before they leave us," according to Orin McCann, the hotel's director of operations. "That has helped us increase our problem resolution scores by more than 20%. And because we discover and resolve issues earlier, we've dramatically reduced our overall problem rate."

The system's method instantly distributes full text notifications (including audio links) via email to specific managers with a need to know. The unstructured responses uncover hundreds of issues each month (i.e. compliments, complaints and ideas) that are not immediately actionable in e-mail surveys.

In addition to verbatim transcription, each comment is separately categorized, giving clients online graphical reports with the ability to drill from summary by business process to full comment detail. Text is brought to life by voice recordings that reveal sincerity, emotional intensity, age, gender and authenticity. The result gives managers unique opportunities to reward consistently outstanding employees, as well as discover, prioritize and resolve key trends in service delivery. Further, the unbiased guest perspective provides a powerful tool for employee behavior "course corrections" as needed.

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