Why good writing skills matter in customer service
Working in a hotel requires many skills: social skills, the ability to multi-task, and specialized skills in areas like accounting or operations. There’s another skill that’s sometimes overlooked but that’s essential to many hospitality career paths: writing. Writing is especially important if you work in customer service or if you’re aiming for management or supervisory roles in the hospitality industry.
Why do writing skills matter?
Hospitality professionals need strong writing skills to communicate with other people, including team members and guests, and to record information. While some communication can happen over the phone or face to face, there are many situations where there’s no substitute for writing things down.
For example, customer service representatives respond to guests’ emails and may be required to write answers through online chat, too. These written comments have to be succinct, and they must be clear so that they don’t confuse guests or lead to misunderstandings. Customer service representatives may also need to draft formal letters in response to serious complaints. And they need to be able to document disputes and resolutions and to communicate the status of customer service interactions to other team members. All of these functions require strong writing skills, because muddled writing can result in improperly handled complaints and lost business from unhappy guests.
Supervisory positions also require excellent writing skills because supervisors need to write performance reviews, progress reports, and other feedback for employees. They may also need to document work processes or write instructions for the employees who report to them. It’s important that these documents are accurate and understandable so that all team members have correct information.
Finally, managers often write reports, forecasts, and plans for future growth. They may need to write presentations and analyses of business data. Strong writing allows them to communicate effectively with executives and stakeholders.
How to improve your writing:
If you’re not sure whether your writing is up to speed, spend some time updating your skills. Here are a few things you can do to become a better writer:
- Brush up on your grammar. Use free resources like the Purdue Online Writing Lab to refresh your knowledge.
- Read. Focus on informational texts like nonfiction books and newspaper articles. Make a daily habit of reading hospitality news sites; you'll improve your reading and writing skills while simultaneously brushing up on what's going on in your industry.
- Write summaries. Most business writing requires you to summarize information. You can practice by writing short paragraphs to summarize the articles or book chapters you read.
- Practice writing about your job. Pretend that you’re writing a performance review for yourself, or write instructions telling someone else how to perform one of your functions at work.
- Read your writing out loud. See if it sounds natural when spoken; if some sentences feel awkward, revise them.
- Ask a friend for help. Show your writing to a friend, and ask them to point out any sentences that are unclear or sections that could use more detail. Then incorporate their suggestions into a second draft.