11 ways to redefine customer service – not just your hotel distribution strategy

  Posted in Guest Experience

Customer service is top priority in any business and increasingly so in today’s competitive climate. The good news for hotels is that, by their very nature, they are in a unique position to continually redefine what true customer service is.

Here’s a look at 11 ways this can be achieved.

1. Measure customer satisfaction and engagement

Do you know how your guests really feel about you? Fortunately, technology is making it easier than ever to get real-time feedback with website and smart phone surveys as well as social media listening tools to actively monitor what people are saying about your brand online.

2. Educate, encourage and use incentives to help employees deliver on service

Employees are the front line ambassadors of your brand. As such, they need to be empowered to deliver on customer service promises at every level. At the Ritz-Carlton, for example, employees are entrusted with an allowance of $2,000 to provide exceptional service< for a guest.

3. Differentiate your hotel from the competition

To differentiate yourself from the competition, think in unique travel experience terms. From Wi-Fi-enabled lobby lounges to off-site adventures, to restaurants incorporating local cuisines and produce – hotels that differentiate their offerings are poised to capture a greater market share.

4. Know your customer base

Today’s travel market is diverse, encompassing everything from baby boomers to socially-minded millennials to wealthy leisure travellers. The more you understand your target market and the emotional experiences they seek, the better you can tailor your products and offerings to serve them.

5. Integrate your operations processes into your customer marketing strategies

Today’s consumers are expecting ever-greater levels of speed and efficiency. As such, consider incorporating your operations processes into your marketing strategies, such as self-serve kiosks that save time at check-in or online booking systems that allow customers to digitally view and select their rooms.

6. Understand that customer satisfaction is based on loyalty, identity, values, and relationships

To build loyalty, a hotel’s offerings must be aligned with their guests’ core values and beliefs. For example, 77% of millennials believe it’s important that their money goes towards making the world a better place, a finding which has important implications for hotels catering to this fastest growing travel market segment.

7. Solve problems quickly and turn complainers into advocates

As more customers turn to social media channels to voice their complaints, hotels must offer fast, courteous and transparent responses across all channels. By learning the art of great social service, you have the power to turn unhappy customers into your very own brand ambassadors.

8. Listen to your guests; change their attitudes and fix their problems

‘The customer is always right’ has never been truer than in our age – the age of the Internet. With the ability of a single tweet, post or review from an unhappy customer to reach thousands, it’s your responsibility to listen to customers and make things right. Statistics show hotels that exceed their customer experience scores by 10% exceed $1 billion in aggregate revenue.

9. Improve your supplier relationships and hold them to your standards

Savvy businesses know that excellent relationships along their entire supply chain are essential to their success. As such, treat your suppliers with the same courtesy and respect that you grant your customers, and make sure they know you expect the same level of service from them.

10. Personalise your service to meet your guests’ needs

Want guests to remember you? Offer the personal touch that will stick out in people’s minds. Greeting your guests by name, offering personalised recommendations and treating guests to services above and beyond the normwill help you leave a lasting impression.

11. Exceed expectations and treat guests as you would a guest in your own home

When a guest stays with you, they are entrusting you with their care and well-being. As such, strive to exceed expectations at all times and, in turn, they will reward you with their loyalty and free word-of-mouth marketing through their networks.

Clearly, there are many ways to redefine your customer service. From your front desk to your online presence, creating memorable, customer-centric experiences is the key to success now and into the future.

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