Using Real-time Feedback to Enhance the Guest Experience
By Richard D. Hanks Chairman and President, Mindshare Technologies | April 15, 2010
Henry Ford was on to something when he said, "A business absolutely devoted to Customer Service Excellence will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large."
Sounds about right to me. Companies that are focused on giving their customers what they want always do well. But what defines "Customer Service Excellence?" Far too many companies think it's as simple as doing what they think their customers want; others do what they want their customers to want.
Neither of these is even close to the meaning of the term "Customer Service Excellence." It's something created when a company commits from the top down to listening to their customers, responding to their feedback, and crafting an operation that focuses on meeting their needs.
So, how do you ensure a great experience for your guests? Here's a simple thought: Let them tell you what makes for a great experience. Instead of speculating, or taking shortcuts on customer happiness, reacting directly to customer feedback is your quickest route to "Customer Service Excellence." The best way to do this is to allow them to tell you, in real-time, at every property, every day.
Let Them Tell You - in Their Own Words
The first step is finding out what customers want. Feedback gathering systems come in all shapes and sizes, from in-room comment cards to front-desk checkout surveys, to lengthy Guest Satisfaction Surveys. These can give you a general overview of what the customer went through during their stay. But, comment cards are slow, and face-to-face surveys aren't accurate for the large majority of guests, who are conflict avoiders. And, most Lodging Guest Satisfaction Surveys have become so long and detailed that I worry that they've become routine and impersonal to the guest. What we really need is a solution that provides enough research sophistication to perform the needed analysis, but one that is simple enough to build on the kind of accurate information we gather when we simply ask a friend, "Hey, how was the hotel? Or, "So... how'd it go?"