The George

"It only took 2-3 days of my time across a couple of weeks to get the chatbot running on our website."

Georgina Torrington - Director of Sales and Marketing

Luxury hotel, The George, prides itself on offering personalised service to its high-end clients. Well-appointed, elegantly furnished rooms, and a one-to-one staff to guest ratio ensure that guests at The George receive the best service possible at every stage of their visit.

While it is hard to imagine that a chatbot could improve their already exceptional customer service, The George wanted to deliver the same outstanding service through their website as well, says Georgina Torrington, Director of Sales and Marketing.

Initial results have been pleasing, and Georgina was also pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy the chatbot was to implement.

Getting the chatbot up and running was quick and easy

“The call to roll-out the Yonder chatbot on our website came during our super-busy Christmas period. I was very nervous about how much time it was going to take up, but it turned out that it only took 2-3 days of my time across a couple of weeks, so I was extremely happy,” says Georgina.

"The chatbot was quick and easy to implement.”

The job of building answers to the 100 or so questions that form the chatbot’s knowledge base about everything from The George’s carparking to the menu at their award-winning restaurant, 50 Bistro, turned out to be easier than anticipated as well, explains Georgina.

“The question list provided by Yonder was a 99.9% fit with our business.”

This meant that instead of having to dedicate hours of staff time to researching questions commonly asked by our guests, all we had to do was come up with answers to the questions, she says.

This question set is unique to the Yonder chatbot and means the bot is ready-to-go out of box, explains company founder Letitia Stevenson.

“Each one of our clients is able to take advantage of a robust and comprehensive set of questions we’ve built up from analysis of thousands of traveller conversations. This is why our chatbot is so quick to set-up, and performs so well from day one.”

The George appointed a chatbot champion - senior host, Charise - to be responsible for monitoring the chatbot and answering any questions that the bot passed to staff for resolution.

Twenty minutes of training done online with the Yonder team was all that was needed to get Charise up-to-speed and ready to go, explains Georgina.

“The Yonder interface is very intuitive, and very easy to use.”

The solution

The George opted for Yonder’s AI chatbot which offers the best of both worlds: automated responses and live chat capability.

“Offering a chatbot service on our website is about offering our guests choices.”

Automated responses answer a myriad of routine questions - about buying gift vouchers to what’s on the restaurant menu and everything in between. More complex questions that require a human touch are escalated to a staff member. The transition from chatbot to staff happens quickly and seamlessly, and if staff aren’t available the chatbot will gather contact details to respond later.

“Behaviour is changing, and while lots of our customers want to talk to us, there are some who are quite comfortable talking with a chatbot,” says Georgina.

“Offering a chatbot service on our website is about offering our guests choices."

“When they arrive on our website we want them to go away satisfied, having found what they want.”

Learnings come quickly

Georgina was surprised at how quickly the chatbot started delivering results, and within 48 hours it had started paying for itself by delivering useful insight.

“We quickly discovered - due to the frequency of questions to the chatbot - that our website didn’t have enough information about our ‘high-tea’ product. We updated our website content immediately.”

“The chatbot provides a different perspective and has given us rich insight into the user experience on our website.”

“As we see patterns, we expect that the chatbot conversations will help us further evolve our website content.”

Yonder’s built-in analytics are an important part of understanding return on investment and building a picture of customers’ experience on the website, explains Georgina who tracks how many bookings result from chatbot conversations, total number of conversations and percentage of enquiries resolved by the bot without staff intervention.

Converting the in-house sceptics

While there was support among The George management team for adding a chatbot to the website, the customer service team needed convincing because they weren’t sure how it would fit with our luxury brand, explains Georgina.

“I asked the team a question about how many times a day they answer phone calls or emails about routine things like whether we have car parking, or WIFI and they quickly came around.”

In the first month of operation, the Yonder chatbot facilitated 70 conversations, and resolved 73 percent of enquiries with its automated responses, saving around seven hours of staff time. Outcomes are expected to improve as the AI chatbot improves its current knowledge base and becomes more familiar with the questions raised by The George’s customers.

About The George

The George is a luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of Christchurch, New Zealand, and overlooks picturesque Hagley Park and River Avon. Luxury surroundings and attentive staff are the hallmarks of this upmarket, luxury hotel, which boasts a one-to-one staff to guest ratio.

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