It is well known that a fast response to customers is going to convert more e-mail enquiries into bookings. But let’s get practical here, we all get lots of e-mails and we have other things to do than sit glued to a PC all day.
If you’re a small holiday rental operator, you’re likely to be multitasking. You may be currently on a critical task, ordering the linen, organising the cleaner, paying the bills, or even doing the cleaning.
The last thing you want is to stop what you are doing every time a low priority email hits your inbox.
So, what would it be like to have a magical voice whisper into your ear just when a vital customer is asking for your attention?
I use a system to do just that.
Well, it isn’t quite a whispering voice, it is just a simple chime from my smart phone when I receive a customer enquiry or reply.
How does it work?
I just arrange my email system to send an SMS alert when I get a vital incoming e-mail inquiry, and it sets off a chime on my iPhone. By the way, it works with any smartphone.
It also triggers a vibration so if my phone is set to silent and resting on the table when I am in a meeting, the subtle buzz tells me something is going on. I can glance at the screen to see the nature of the email and I can then choose to respond immediately or at a later time of my choice.
I have an iPhone, but Android phones will work just as well.
If I’m at my laptop and I hear the chime, I can choose to interrupt what I’m doing to respond and call the enquiring customer.
If I’m a long way from the laptop, I check availability and pricing on the smartphone, and just call the person enquiring to let them know we are available. I can answer any questions and give them a formal follow up email later.
It is amazing how often people will respond to a simple call in this situation, and say ‘Oh great, can I book now? Here are my credit card details….’
I’ve lost count of the number of times I have taken bookings on the spot after a brief chat, minutes after the chime goes off. It happened again a few days ago.
You can do this too. There are various options depending on your personal situation. You can keep it simple or you can set up more powerful arrangements. The smartphone makes it all possible.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE.
Take John, he has 10 to 15 e-mails a day and a smart phone and operates his one holiday rental part time. He uses the Gmail app to read email on his iPhone.
A simple solution for him is to set a sound chime and a vibration whenever an email arrives of any kind. He can also set the smartphone to see the first part of the e-mail.
He hears the chime and the vibration, glances at the screen, and if it’s a potential inquiry he can choose to reply now or later.
In a few seconds a day John is alert to the few critical opportunities for his rental without interrupting his day.
The way to turn on notifications varies by smartphone and email system. You may have a tech whiz who can help. If in doubt search google for “turn on mail notifications” for your phone/ tablet type.
I’ve prepared a step by step example for turning on sound and screen alerts in a separate post for those who like to get into the techie stuff. Setting Simple Email Alerts – How To Do It
FOR THE BUSIER RENTAL OWNER
My own situation is a bit more complicated than John above. I get 30 to 40 emails a day, some of which are for my three quite different rentals and I’m moving around a bit. I also like to focus on one thing at a time if I can.
That’s why I’ve set up an email filter to check just for special incoming emails and trigger an SMS to set off my audible warning so I am only interrupted for what I’ve pre-decided is critical.
It is very liberating. I can go and do whatever I like, without having to go check back on my emails, yet knowing I will be the first among my competitors to respond when that juicy enquiry comes in.
Like the example above, I can be in a meeting with my smartphone on silent and a vibration will alert me to an important incoming email. The choice is still mine as to whether I respond.
Another advantage of this kind of alert is that it works even when you are not connected to the internet. If you can get an SMS, you can get the alert. This is very useful if you are travelling and the mobile internet is overloaded, or if you are in a different country with voice roaming and SMS on and data switched off.
For those who want to see how it is done, I’ve given all the gory details of how to set it up in a separate article. The powerful enquiry SMS sound alert – How To Do It
One last time – don’t forget why the alerts are important – they help you respond quickly, convert more enquires to bookings, and make more money!
Posted 11 March 2014
For those who haven’t got your copy of my eBook, “How I converted 60% then 80% of enquiries to bookings”, you can get it here.