Hello, this is Hayashi from the Marketing Department.
Recently, I have had several opportunities to stay at an extended stay hotel. There seems to be an increasing number of such hotels in Kyoto that offer lower rates if you stay several nights in a row.
But here’s where we ran into a bit of a problem.
First, there is hotel A. This hotel has a policy of cleaning the room every three days and changing the sheets once a week, and when I made the reservation, I had requested that the room be cleaned on Sunday when I was out of town. However, it seems that this was not communicated, and the front desk clerk at check-in asked “When do you want the room cleaned?” Well, so far this is fine.
After I checked in, I asked the staff to bring a desk and chair, which I could rent as an option, to my room. The staff who brought them in asked me when I wanted to have them cleaned. The next day, another staff member called me on my cell phone and said, “I just want to confirm…” and asked me when the cleaning would be done. I was a little fed up with the lack of information sharing among the staff, and repeated the same response, “Sunday, please”.
Then, on Sunday, when I returned from my outing…to my surprise, the room had not been cleaned. The sheets had not been changed, and the room was exactly as I left it. I called the front desk and told them that the room had not been cleaned despite their repeated insistence (the front desk staff rushed over and did a minimal amount of cleaning that day).
Then there was another hotel; hotel B. I told them I did not need cleaning services when I made the reservation, but every morning at exactly 11:00 a.m., the cleaner came in with the key to the room. What is strange is that even though I told them the first time that I did not need it to be cleaned, the cleaner came the next day and the day after that, as if nothing had happened. I wondered if the information was not conveyed at all.
This is a long preamble, but this time I would like to discuss how to prevent mistakes caused by such communication errors with a workflow system.
What are Communication Errors?
Communication errors refer to problems that occur in the communication of information and can be broadly classified into the following two types.
- Errors due to lack of information transfer
- Errors due to misinformation being communicated
The incident at the hotel mentioned at the beginning of this article is clearly an error due to the lack of communication of information. In the case of the second error, there are cases where the sender not only communicates incorrect information, but also where the receiver misinterprets the information.
In any case, such communication errors can be a source of operational failures and problems, and can cause damage to the company’s credibility. In addition, in the medical and nursing care industries, they can lead to accidents that could result in loss of life. Preventing communication errors is an indispensable requirement for smooth business operations.
What Causes Communication Errors?
As human beings, inadvertent mistakes and misunderstandings can happen to anyone.
On the other hand, environmental factors also play a significant role in communication errors.
For example, if your workplace is;
- Too busy to communicate information
- There is a lack of cooperation between departments
- There is an atmosphere that makes communication difficult
Communication errors are more likely to occur in such situations.
As a side note, I spoke with the staff at the extended stay hotel I mentioned at the beginning of this article, A, and they seemed to be suffering from a chronic shortage of staff. At this hotel, there was often no one at the front desk. When I asked, I was told that the front desk clerk was in charge of cleaning, or that one person worked at several hotels in the same group, traveling around by bicycle.
Indeed, as mentioned above, busyness and understaffing can cause communication errors. However, even under these circumstances, if a system for sharing information had been established, it would not have been a situation where the staff had to confirm the cleaning date and time over and over again to the guests (that’s me). In the hotel business, mistakes caused by such communication errors can lead to complaints and customer attrition, so they should be avoided somehow.
Similarly, communication errors are more likely to occur when the organization is structured vertically, or when work is assigned to individual employees. Furthermore, if the workplace has an atmosphere in which it is difficult to ask questions or speak up, new employees may proceed with their work without fully understanding the information given to them.
Workflow Template called “Information Sharing in Shift Work”
By the way, we have released many free workflow templates that can be used with Questetra BPM Suite. One of them is called “Information Sharing in Shift Work”.
Information Sharing in Shift Work Workflow Template Sample Diagram
This workflow is designed for cleaning and customer service in hotels. When a guest checks out, the front desk clerk enters the checkout information, and the process flows to the cleaning staff, who can immediately implement the cleaning process.
Another key point of this workflow is that the night shift supervisor can leave an internal memo for the front desk staff when there are guest complaints or other information that needs to be shared. When an internal memo is left, the front desk staff is automatically notified by email, making it easier to avoid communication errors due to oversight.
Another key point of this workflow is that it can be easily processed from smartphones and tablets. This should make it easy to use even for staff members like in Hotel A mentioned earlier, who are busy running around onsite.
Click here to learn more or to download the Information Sharing in Shift Work template.
Open Chat Communication Tool
Incidentally, in recent years many companies and organizations have been using LINE as a means of information sharing. Particularly in the service industry, such as restaurants, we often see cases where part-time or casual employees use LINE for business communication.
However, using personal LINE accounts for business purposes entails various risks, such as information leakage due to erroneous transmission. Therefore, it is safer to use specialized chat tools or internal SNS for sharing information on the job, from the perspective of account and log management.
Questetra BPM Suite also comes standard with an internal SNS function called “Open Chat”. Open Chat allows users to post messages like a bulletin board, but it is also possible to post messages to specific people or groups. In addition, when there is a post addressed to you or your group, you will be notified by email so that you won’t miss any important posts.
Questetra BPM Suite Open Chat Sample Screen
For example, discrepancies in communication, such as what was said or not said, are one of the most common communication errors, but since past posts can be easily referenced in Open Chat, such misunderstandings are less likely to occur.
Another advantage of Open Chat is that communication can be facilitated even if you are not in the office due to remote work or field work. With email it takes time and effort to start up email software and check the inbox, and phone calls cannot be answered while the work is in progress. With Open Chat, however, you can immediately post what you need to know, and the recipient can see your post at any time.
Open Chat can be used to improve the communication environment, making it easier for departments to work together and for newcomers to ask questions and speak up.
Improve Your Internal Communication with Questetra BPM Suite
Questetra BPM Suite is a BPM tool that streamlines operations in three steps: Visualization, Automation and Optimization. Workflow diagrams can be easily created on a PC screen, and operations proceed automatically according to the created diagrams.
In addition, Questetra BPM Suite makes it easy to share the business processes that have been established, and when problems or issues are found in the business processes, they can be easily changed or corrected. Furthermore, by making full use of the workflow app’s memo and bulletin board functions, as well as the above-mentioned Open Chat, communication errors can be avoided.
Why don’t you take this opportunity to start improving your internal communication and business processes with Questetra BPM Suite?
In addition to the already introduced workflow template “Information Sharing in Shift Work”, Questetra BPM Suite offers a number of workflow templates that can be used free of charge. By choosing the template that best suits your business situation, you can more easily implement business improvement activities.
Feel free to start with a free trial!