Customer experience is an integral part of the hospitality industry. It has gained significant importance in recent years and has even been referred to as a competitive advantage.
What exactly is customer experience management? In this article, we’ll explore what it means for hotels to take on this role and how they can improve their business and bottom line.
The customer experience is the journey that a customer has when interacting with a company. It’s the sum of all interactions with the company, from website design to phone calls, to in-person experiences, and everything in between. In other words, it’s the whole picture of how you make your customers feel about themselves, their situation and their relationship with your business.
Customer experience is critical for overall satisfaction because it directly affects how well consumers get what they want out of interactions with your organisation—and whether or not they’ll choose to interact again at all. A negative experience not addressed quickly enough or effectively enough can result in the loss of these consumers! The question is, how swiftly can you identify those issues before they turn into major problems?
You may have heard of the term “touchpoints,” but what exactly does it mean? Touchpoints are the points of contact between your hotel and its customers. They’re the channels through which you deliver your customer experience. In other words, they’re how you communicate with your customers.
Listening to Your Customers
Listening to your customers is one of the most important functions you can do as a hotel manager.
- Do they know what they want? Yes, but maybe not in the way you think they want it.
- What is their problem? Perhaps they don’t know that there’s a problem at all.
- Are they saying anything about it, or are they just thinking about it? If so, how do you know?
In business, it’s often said that the customer is always right, but what if you could make sure your customers were happy before they even arrived?
A good customer experience starts with CRM. Customer relationship management (CRM) is the process of understanding your customers’ habits and preferences. It can help you predict what they need so that those needs are met before they even ask for them—and it can also help you understand why they might want something different from you than they did in the past. A good CRM system should be able to tell you what products or services are most popular among certain types of customers (e.g. women over 50), how frequently they use them, and how much money they spend on those things—all so that you know where to invest your time and resources to offer better products/services for them.
Data management defines how you collect and store your customer data. It includes customer data integration, customer data analysis, security features, and other tools used to organise information about customers systematically (like making sure all relevant data from each customer’s account goes into one place).
Everything Needs to Be in Tune With the Customer’s Needs
The phrase “customer experience” is more than just the product. It’s about how you treat customers, how they feel after interacting with your company, and whether it all adds up to a positive experience for them.
Customer experience isn’t limited to one department or type of interaction; it encompasses every part of your business and can be improved in any area where there are opportunities for improvement. To create an excellent customer experience, you need to ensure that every aspect of your brand—from marketing materials to the products themselves—is consistent in its values and tone.
The protocol is the foundation of a customer experience. The roadmap directs your team to deliver on its promises, and it should be easy to follow.
One of the best ways to ensure that protocol is consistent across all channels is by putting it in writing, so everyone on your team has access to it at any time. Documenting the process ensures that every customer interaction follows a single set of rules for responding to requests or complaints.
Here are some key elements you should include:
- Be clear about how long specific interactions will take (e.g., “We respond within 24 hours”).
- Use plain language (e.g., “Let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you!”).
Simple but efficient protocols enable the organisation to run a lot more effectively, ensuring everything is up to code and keeping customers satisfied and safe.
As a hotel, you want to be known for the incredible experiences you provide. You want to deliver an unforgettable experience for your guests that makes them want to return, but how do you do that?
It starts with creating an excellent first impression with your hotel’s exterior design, signage, and landscaping. If a guest pulls into your parking lot and sees that your property is well-maintained and inviting, they will have positive expectations about what they will find inside when they check in at reception or go up to their room. This positive attitude can make all the difference when it comes time for them to interact with staff members or order room service.
Staff presentation is also essential as it plays into how customers perceive their overall experience at your hotel. If your employees look professional and friendly, then customers will feel more comfortable interacting with them during their stay and enhance the hotel’s reputation as the staff exceeded or met the customer’s expectations.
Likewise, if the team and hotel’s image is uninviting, it will poorly reflect the organisation’s reputation. Therefore, the team must know exactly how this can impact overall performance. Hence, as a hotel, make sure that your team is geared with the right experience or look into private staff recruitment for the most qualified team members.
We all know the importance of maintenance to our customers.
Maintenance is crucial for both guests and staff members. When your hotel is in disarray, it can be hard to focus on anything else. The same goes for when you’re running around to fix issues instead of giving guests an unforgettable experience.
A good maintenance plan provides a solid foundation or protocols for your business—and keeps customers happy so they won’t go elsewhere!
There are many vital factors in the customer experience. The first thing that a guest will notice about your hotel is its physical appearance and how it feels to be there.
Staff code of conduct will also affect the performance of the business overall. Ensuring that staff members adhere to protocols and the code of conduct will ensure your hotel runs like a well-oiled machine.
The way you present yourself will make all the difference in how customers perceive your brand, so you must keep everything clean and well maintained.