Meet Jenna, Topaz Reservations Sales Associate
Meet Jenna, Topaz Reservations Sales Associate
You’ve been at Topaz for almost a year now. They emphasize a culture of care, but what does that look like from your point of view?
I can honestly say every single agent genuinely cares. And that’s unique. I don’t know where they find their agents, but I mean, it’s different than any other work environment I’ve ever been in. I’ve never actually had a job where every single person genuinely wanted to be there and wanted to help.
At other companies, it can feel a little more competitive between colleagues. Here everybody genuinely wants to help each other out, which is super cool.
Part of it too is that they do a really good job of backing up the phone agents and also giving out praise when it’s earned. When a guest who has had a good experience tells your supervisor you were so amazing, which actually happens a lot, the supervisor or leader will share that with the whole team. They call it giving “kudos”.
They take the time to send an email to everyone, quoting what the guest had to say word-for-word about the associate. Sharing it with everyone has this contagious effect. You think, “I want kudos! I’m going to up my game.” It motivates you.
“I’ve never actually had a job where every single person genuinely wanted to be there and wanted to help…At other companies, it can feel a little more competitive between colleagues. Here everybody genuinely wants to help each other out, which is super cool.”
Tell me about the training and onboarding process you went through at Topaz?
The training and onboarding experience was super smooth. I’ve never felt more confident after training. I feel like a lot of places will train you and then they just put you into situations that you might not be ready for, and so you might be more hesitant to help. But here, in the training, I learned how to deal with any situation that might be given to me.
And the support afterwards is unique, as well. Every day different Floor Leaders are on call when you’re on your shift. And so you know who that person is and that they can support you. When questions come up, I just message them and within a minute I get the response I need. If necessary, I can have a one-on-one conversation with a supervisor at any time. But I can also reach out to the open group channel, and fellow agents will lend a hand if they’re available. That’s unique.
By having that support, we can avoid reaching out to the hotels because, obviously, we are their fallback. We know the hotel staff is busy helping guests. So it’s great to have that internal support.
How do you go about guiding a caller who might be interested in a reservation?
A lot of times the guests will have an idea of what they want room-wise. But it’s important to always mention special packages or anything that’s being offered currently. For one thing, it makes them feel special. In mentioning those packages or a slightly nicer room, I’m basically saying, “I know your stay is special to you.” I never want to come off as aggressive. It’s more just letting them know they have options, and I want to help them make it special.
I also make a point of tying the offer to their particular situation. For example, if it’s a woman with her kids, I might say, “Perhaps you’d like a room next to the pool. Or, I have a package that includes breakfast for everyone.” So I bring it back to their situation, trying to make their life easier.
“And beyond just the ease of finding information, I like [C5] because it has the Ideal Call guidelines that prompt me to ask the guest specific questions that help me connect with the caller on a deeper level.”
A lot is made about C5, Topaz’s proprietary software system. What does that look like from the reservations associate point-of-view?
With C5, when I answer a call for a hotel, I have all the current room types, bed types, suites, packages, rates, etc, all right in front of me. So I don’t have to navigate through screens or search. It’s all right there.
Then on the other side of the same screen, I can see all the other relevant information, for example, if they’ve updated their cancellation policy, if there’s a renovation happening, or if the gym is not currently open. But also, I can see what the food offerings are in the hotel, and I can even see local restaurants and activities to do. Even the weather forecast is right there on the same screen. So without toggling or searching, I have it all right there, as if I’m there at the hotel.
So from my point of view, C5 just helps me do my job well.
And beyond just the ease of finding information, I like it because it has the Ideal Call guidelines that prompt me to ask the guest specific questions that help me connect with the caller on a deeper level. Whereas the other systems that I book for, they’re not as client oriented. It’s just basic functionality for booking reservations. So they don’t have those prompts. Like for example, it reminds me to ask the guest what brings them to town, is it business or pleasure? It sounds simple, but just knowing that helps me tailor what I offer.
“My family makes fun of me because they say my commute is only five minutes, but really, I just walk down the stairs.”
You work remotely, what does that look like for you?
I have a designated home-office. So I have a little desk with my computer. I have a fridge and everything. My family makes fun of me because they say my commute is only 5 minutes, but really, I just walk down the stairs.
It’s important when I’m working remotely to keep my work life separate from my personal life. I was a psych major in college and I literally learned that if you don’t separate the two, your brain doesn’t turn off after work and so you’re not fully relaxed at home, and at work, you’re not fully switched into work-mode.
So for me, I think it is really important to separate the two.
“I never end phone calls unless I know that the guest is 100% happy.”
What do you like best about your job?
A lot. I think the most rewarding part of it is just the excitement people get for their upcoming stays. Even if at the start someone has an issue or isn’t really happy with something about their reservation, turning that around and getting them to be happy or to get excited about their stay is very rewarding.
I never end phone calls unless I know that the guest is 100% happy.
If they call with a problem, the first thing I have them understand is I want to help just as much as they want help. So we’re going to get this done. When a manager has to approve something, we’ll run it by a manager. But we’ll solve the problem.
If I’m not able to provide a solution in that moment, I’ll let them know that we are working on it. We are trying to figure out a solution and will have someone reach back out to them. And then they usually are really, really happy with the effort you’re making. And I don’t know, it’s just really important for them to understand that you do want to help them and you are doing everything possible to help them.
It’s really important to always listen with an open mind to what the guest needs and wants and respect what they’re saying.
A lot of times guests feel bad for asking certain things, and I always make it clear they should never feel bad for asking me a question or asking me anything.
For example, if someone calls and they have to cancel due to a sick child at home, they might say “I’m so sorry. I should have gotten a sitter”. And I tell them, “No, don’t worry about it. We’re going to try and figure this out. This is not your fault; you didn’t want this to happen, but we’ll figure it out.”
After every phone call, I end it with a smile on my face because I know I helped someone, and that is the most rewarding. And at the end of the day, I know that I helped people and it makes me feel good about myself and like I’m doing something in the world.
That sense of fulfillment is important to me.
“After every phone call, I end it with a smile on my face because I know I helped someone, and that is the most rewarding. And at the end of the day, I know that I helped people and it makes me feel good about myself and like I’m doing something in the world.”