Community Customer Service!
Customer service is very crucial to the success of our eco-community. The more you know about our community operations the better your internship will be! Here are some of the important pages on our websites with information that Interns need to know to serve their community.
Remember that HedonisiaHawaii.com is our Eco-Hostel site with Nightly Rates
1) Community Customer Relations Manager
It is important for interns to remember that Hedonisia is an eco-hostel first and home second. Nightly guests provide the income that keeps the community financially solvent.
As an intern keep in mind that you have certain responsibilities in regards to hospitality. Two key factors to always be prepared for are:
- Regular Communication: Check in with current community members about their future plans; if a community member is interested in extending their stay, they must talk to the hospitality manager about their plans.
- Answering Questions: Handle concerns or complaints guests may have. It is important to be able to point phone callers to the Hedonisia links that answer their questions. Make sure you know where the Community or Intern/Volunteer FAQ links are on the website in case a guest asks about them on the phone.
2) Same day check-in payments
With same day check-ins or drop-ins, make sure and show the person the place BEFORE processing their payment. Then if they decide they don’t want the space, they can change or cancel without us having to process a refund.
- Guests or Volunteers owing money! One easy non-confrontational way to collect payment from someone who continually forgets to make a payment is to simply talk about the fact that it’s a red cell on the spreadsheet so each intern knows it’s an issue. That way a person doesn’t feel they are being picked on!
- Process Payments BEFORE entering in Calendar. Normally it is required to process a payment and booking before entering the details in the calendar. This applies when a person calls to reserve a space. Many times they don’t want to or can’t pay on the spot but they want a space held for them! However, don’t just put a person in without payment as this throws off our reservation.
- Don’t leave customers waiting. If someone needs to upgrade etc and you have a non-priority job to do like completing the intern report, let that wait and serve the customer. Don’t leave people waiting unnecessarily.
- Check in almost always takes too long! This is one of the biggest complaints that guests have in all hotels. One way to speed up the check-in when waiting for a guest is to pre-fill some of the sections in the iPad registration. So when they arrive they just have to read the rules, photo their ID, and sign their name. I have noticed that the registration can sometimes be painfully slow especially if it’s someone who’s not used to thumb typing!
3) Interns Accessibility
Interns should accessible at all times. Even during breaks, Interns should not be ‘hiding away’ in their sleeping spaces when on duty. Ideally, unless they are doing a project around the property they should be in the Community Barn Area prepared to deal with customers or questions that arise.
Friends and lovers should visit on non-shift days to ensure that interns are fully accessible rather than busy entertaining.
4) Monthly Guest or Volunteer Bookings
We will only process bookings up to one month (4 weeks) at a time. Not only does it complicate accounting when we process a payment for multiple months but it also can bring out a feeling being ‘entitled’ to stay at Hedo. When a volunteer or guest is on a month to month arrangement, they know that each month we will only
be extend ed based on mutual agreement.
5) Jungle Cottage & Kahuna Cabin Volunteer Discounts
If a Weekly or Monthly Guest at Jungle Cottage or Kahuna Cabin is really nice and wants to reduce their payment by volunteering we can, subject to Director approval, give discounts based on the following protocol for a single person:
- A shift is currently valued at $20 so for 4 shifts a week she could reduce the price by $80.
- The JC is priced at $895 per month with one shift included. So with 3 more shifts, she can reduce the price by $60 more each week.
- If she decided to work all the shifts then she would pay $895 – $240 = $655
- In other words with 4 x 3-hour shifts per week, she would owe $655.
- The same would apply for Kahuna Cabin.
6) Sounds of Nature & Noise!
Our community is peaceful but not always quiet!
While we have ‘Quiet Hours’ that we enforce, we also make allowances for ‘sounds of nature’! Hedonisia Hawaii is an eco-community located in the lush rainforest. It can be a very inspirational environment! If a couple is making love exuberantly at night, this is considered a sound of nature!
Loud stereo music and talking are not considered sounds of nature. However, Coqui frogs chirping at night would qualify. However, couples who are exuberant night after night should be diplomatically notified that people need sleep!
However, couples who are exuberant night after night should be diplomatically notified that people need sleep!
Not all community members have access to this reading material so if someone’s lovemaking becomes the next mornings topic of conversation privately inform them of this policy. And encourage people to be respectful and mature about ‘consenting adults’!
7) Hedonisia ‘Refugee’ Policy!
Our community tries to follow the highest standards of integrity. Sadly, while many are wonderful, not all communities in the area consistently operate with the same principles. Visitors can be unpleasantly surprised at some of the communities around here!
Several factors have caused visitors from other communities to flee such as a cult-like atmosphere, hard drug use, overly controlling community structure or no rules at all!
Sometimes, visitors who stayed at such a community or farmstead, flee and then show up at our door begging for a place to stay! This has happened so many times over the years, we created a Refugee Policy. The Refugee Policy does not differ much from our general drop-in policy; we simply consider the potentially traumatizing situation they left as we inform them about our community.
We will accept applicants fleeing another community. However, because they are a ‘refugee’ they might not have had time to check out our programs fully so they do not understand our community.
They may try to bargain down our prices since they may be coming out of situations where it was a work-trade non-monetary arrangement. It is important that we are sensitive to their circumstance; however, we do not give them special treatment.
If a ‘refugee’ arrives when an intern is on duty:
- Comfort. First comfort them if they are traumatized. (Three females fleeing a Hare Krishna community in 2011 would be an example of that!)
- Hedonisia Program Options. Show them exactly where our program pages are on the website so they can choose the program that is best for them and their budget. You can also explain some of the options yourself. A refugee must be given the time to read the different program information because they may have never seen our website before!
- Our Community is Different Tour! Give them a tour and answer questions. Especially reassure them about our ‘community of individuals’ philosophy. Many refugees are a little scared and suspicious. After all, they just fled from somewhere that is ‘crazy’!
- Were they the problem? When you are chatting with them about the place they came from listening to their stories. Make sure it wasn’t their own behavior that caused their departure. More than once we have accepted a refugee only to find out that they had behavioral issues! So be compassionate but aware!
8) Drop-In Guests & Referrals
- Drop-in guests may not know what to expect. Given our name Hedonisia, they sometimes think we are a much wilder place! Walk-ins who would like to be an Intern or Volunteer must apply through the website. It is the Intern’s discretion to assess whether to let the person use our computer or to ask them to apply off the property. Interns make a judgment based on how the person behaves.
- Visitors who go through the Hedonisia website tend to have a better understanding of what to expect at our eco-community. Referral sites, like Booking.com, do not require the guest to visit our website. As a result, they will not know exactly what to expect. Patiently and politely explain our eco-friendly policies and ecofeminist philosophy (e.g we do not use pesticides, normal detergent, our lodgings are made of recycled materials and so on).
9) Customers Trying to Get Discounts!
Drop-ins who wish to apply for an intern, volunteer or guest and then attempt to bargain for a “better deal” raise a red flag for us. Especially when they see our prices and start jostling for a ‘better deal’ by criticising our community in some form.
Our response to such requests is simple: we’ve hosted hundreds of interns, volunteers and guests over the years who saved up and paid for one of our programs. It is simply not fair to any existing intern, volunteer or guest when we give a special deal to someone who drops in.
It is simply not fair to our community members who followed protocol if we give any special deals especially to applicants who have not ‘proven’ themselves.
So when dealing with such drop-ins feel free to state what you went through to become part of this community!
10) Guests on the Property Renewing!
When guests and volunteers already on the property extend their stays that is one of the best indicators that the community functioning harmoniously. The team at the core of the community plays a large role in creating and maintaining that sense of harmony. When this is happening you can pat yourselves on the back. Well done!
11) Week/Monthly Guests Community Support Days
Community Support Shift. A guest pays the discounted weekly or monthly rate is expected to participate in a community support shift. Upon check-in or shortly thereafter, when a Weekly/Monthly Guest picks the day of their shift you can enter it on at least one of the following.
There are two ways a person can be tracked for their day.
- On the heart board. Just add their name on the day they wish to work.
- On the Intern Calendar. You can add their name directly to the calendar. For example Alice W, or Barry M. W = Weekly. M = Monthly.
- Bookings Calendar
If a W/M guest checks in at night you can ask them if they look alert. Otherwise, if they are tired put a note in Unfinished Business that
they intern on duty for the following day can give a tour and/or ask them to pick their shift.
Guests and volunteers may opt out of the volunteer hours by paying the $20 that each 3 hour shift is valued at.
12) Bed Spaces Cleaning After Guest Check-Outs
Guests are not required to clean up their space when they check out, nor remove their bedding. However, if they do, please say thank you!
We have a Bed Space Instructions page. If a bed space is not clean, the intern on duty should check the Intern Calendar for who was on the day the person checked out. Then speak to the intern who should have cleaned it directly.
Sometimes interns forget! However, forgetting to clean a bed space should not be a habit.