7 Reasons Why Your Bookings Team is Frustrated
This last year was very difficult for everyone. Everyone had to learn how to work from home, adjust to new rules in our communities and deal with a tonne of stress that hasn't been the case in years’ past.
While 2020 was a challenging year, there is a strong possibility that your team in your venue hire team were already a little bit stressed with their day to day responsibilities without the constant stress of closures and Covid plans.
People are your most valuable resource. Could you be treating your team better this year?
Here are 7 Reasons why your team might be frustrated in their roles:
1. Credit Notes
Giving money back to customers is an absolute necessity sometimes in venue hire, but your team likely hates the process of doing it. Generally, it involves writing to finance to advise of a change to a booking (which can happen quite often from something as simple as a time change adding or subtracting time to cancellations to bond collections and returns.
They write to the finance team who issues the credit note through an older system that can result in a hirer getting their money back over a period of weeks. Some councils even return bonds from customers by cheque! While I have a few grey hairs in my beard, some younger folks don’t even know what to do with a paper cheque these days. :)
2. Interdepartmental interactions
Along those same lines, Finance isn’t the only team that gets contacted regularly as a part of venue hire. Maintenance crews, Rangers and IT Teams all have a role to play.
Want to make a change to the information about a space in a venue or announce a closure? Call IT. Your team needs to ring a whole other part of the organisation just to update a little piece of information. How inefficient is that? This is not the only case where your bookings team can’t just handle an issue themselves.
3. Old clunky software
Most systems that we have found in the Local Government venue hire space was not built by teams of people who manage venues. They were created by folks who were creating a product that needed to suit a range of features, functions and different businesses. Big tech companies invest in generic software that sort of handles everyone’s problems, but doesn’t specifically address the needs of YOUR team. Go and ask them!
Why would you make your team use mid-90’s developed software that was ‘kind of’ developed for your team’s purpose and since has been hammered and chiselled into position either through sheer innovation by your team or, again, calling IT for more help?
Shouldn’t your team be treated to software developed by other local government venue hire teams?
4. Inefficient ways of communicating with customers
When you fill in that form mentioned above, it goes to someone as an email, in amongst hundreds of other emails in their inbox. They need to check availability, see what other information needs to be gathered, send out a bunch of separate emails and pdf forms to be filled in, etc. etc. You get my drift…
Software should support your team. It should automate activity that can be automated and present the customer with the information they need to know clearly and concisely, and most importantly - immediately!
Methods of communication should be in a dashboard, with all comms recorded against a customer so that if someone else needs to take over all of the previous communication is right there for all to see. There shouldn’t be cut-and-paste activity into and out of the software.
5. Spending too much time on error-prone data entry instead of engaging with customers
Along those same lines, why are you asking your team to compile information over the phone or from emails and then manually enter it into software? This process is fraught with opportunities for errors, mistakes and misunderstandings. Let the customer enter this information wherever possible and eliminate the time-consuming activity of entering data!
It is so important for your bookings team to be interacting positively with hirer in and out of the community and focussing on activation activities, not manual data entry.
There are so many demands that are constantly requiring attention when you are the front-facing person for the public. People are often looking for information, have questions and are not interested in other projects that your team member is working on at any given time. They want answers now!
This can create unnecessary stress as we all know how hard it is to restart a project after being interrupted multiple times by phone calls and emails. Remember what you were doing before you opened this article?
As we have learned time after time when working with local governments to streamline their processes when it comes to venue hire, pretty much the standard system in place is to fill in a basic form asking for contact information and maybe a rough outline of dates and times requested. There are multiple forms and ‘Terms and Conditions’ to download and information is insufficient and spread throughout the website on different pages.
This makes the process for a customer extremely frustrating… waiting for someone to get back to them, not knowing availability and likely being unclear on what the price would be for the hire. Does your site even work on a mobile device? Overall, it’s a poor customer experience.
This means the customer is going to pick up the phone to ask questions and get more immediate information. Every time a customer picks up the phone to call it costs the ratepayers in that constituency $4-$7 depending on the length of the call.
For your team, the routine is to answer the same 12 questions over and over and over all day long.
As you can probably imagine, we have gotten to understand your venue hire team’s day to day routines, jobs to be done and activities intimately. We get their pain points and have developed software that solves or mitigates against every one of the issues above.
So if your team is looking a little tired and we are only a month or two into the new year, maybe have a chat with us. Taking care of your people could be the most powerful and important thing you do this year!
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