Four reasons to create a formal shift handover process

Bruno

Just like a hospital, a hotel is a 24-7 business as we in the industry know all too well. There’s no rest for the wicked and customers rightly expect the best service every single time, right throughout their stay. And so they should. After all, in any hospital, the patient expects the same level of care and attention in the morning as they do late at night so why should the same customer service expectation not apply in a hotel?

Unfortunately, the reality is that owing to the often informal nature of the hotel shift-handover, while a customer may experience excellent customer service during the day, once the night-shift takes over, the complete opposite occurs. Clearly, this is not only very bad for business – since good customer service is ultimately what defines a customer’s hotel experience – it’s also incredibly dangerous given the influencing power of social media and online forums.

The importance of a good handover system

Often the blame lies not with the night workers, who are often doing the very best they can in testing circumstances, but rather with the handover system – or more precisely, the lack thereof – that the hotel has in place.

Perhaps it’s the result of a cultural legacy from days gone by (“we’ve always done it this way”), where the belief was that customer service practices employed during the day did not apply to the night shift?

Change-of-shift handover is vital in hospitals – so why not in hotels too?

Have you ever noticed how in every hospital there’s a seamless handover system in place, from one nursing professional to the next? Or how at the bottom of every hospital bed lays a full report on the patient, detailing every single thing that has happened during the course of the shift?

But what’s even more important is that all of this data has a real purpose and rather than assuming the next shift will understand it, a full, formal handover process takes place to ensure that this is the case: no nasty surprises, just a perfectly fine-tuned handover where although the staff member changes, the service level remains the same.

So, here are 4 reasons why you should ensure you put in place an effective shift handover process.

1 Having a formal process is the easiest way to get staff buy-in

Creating any new process that you want all staff to follow means committing the process to writing, and communicating this to all staff in a formal way.

What we’re really saying is that merely mentioning a new handover process to staff members individually, while in passing, is not enough and won’t work. If it’s not formal then it’s probably haphazard and fleeting.

So, in order to ensure that everyone knows exactly what the handover procedures are – and to ensure buy-in right across the board – we suggest you arrange formal staff meetings for each shift, where all staff can be fully briefed, ask questions, and leave knowing exactly what process is in place.

2 If it works for a hospital then why not a hotel?

As we’ve mentioned, hospitals there is no compromise as far as the shift handover process is concerned in hospital environments: the same handover process is followed every single time without question and without fail.

Why not take a similar approach to the handover process in respect of your hotel? Put in place a really effective, user-friendly reporting system which will ensure a smooth, easy to use, and extremely effective handover process.

Because once there is a sound and set system in place, your staff will buy into it and your customer service will be consistently brilliant right around the clock.

3 Writing everything down ensures absolute accountability

When it comes to ensuring the smooth running of a hotel, we’re big believers in writing everything down. And here’s why: once something is in writing, it is set in stone, everyone knows it’s there, and complete accountability is assured as a result.

But of course, when we refer to “writing things down” we’re not saying that everyone should be exchanging post-it notes or scrawling on the back of an envelope. Instead, we’re talking about an advanced, yet extremely simple purpose-built handover tool such as Dmbook Pro, which can connect all hotel staff in real time.

The thing is, while verbal communication is invaluable when it comes to engaging with your team and your customers, there are a couple of reasons why it is not on its own, sufficient in terms of ensuring a smooth and reliable handover process:

  • The person leaving their shift will be tired after a very busy day and their sole aim will be to finish their shift and get home as quickly as possible. As a result, they will not be in a position to recall all of the many issues that happened during their shift, and they won’t want to hang around to try and remember either.
  • Verbal communication can lead to confusion: not only will things be forgotten if you are relying on memory alone during the handover, but the information you do pass on may not be clear, or may be misinterpreted by the incoming staff member.

4 A smooth handover gives peace of mind to everyone

Although staff may initially resist change – particularly if it is perceived to add to their already heavy workload – introducing an effective handover solution such as Dmbook Pro will ultimately benefit everyone working in the hotel, in a number of different ways.

  • When a staff member finishes his/her shift, the live handover (by virtue of real-time updates), means they can feel relaxed when they finish their shift, rather than endlessly wondering if there’s something important they’ve forgotten.
  • Being organised and simply knowing what’s been done, what’s been forgotten about, what’s outstanding – all in real-time – means everyone is in full control at all times; this is very calming and rewarding, and it means that everyone can work much better as a team without feeling under constant pressure.

And the best thing about Dmbook Pro is that, because it’s a cloud-based handover solution, it can be accessed anywhere, anytime. This means that even if, when a shift is over, one of your team has forgotten to update or notify their incoming colleague, they can easily log-in and add it later. This is an excellent way of preventing work stress as it leaves staff feeling in control of their work situation, even when they’re off!

Try it FREE for one month at www.dmbook.pro and see for yourself how your hotel operations will be transformed!

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