Deliver a Legendary Customer Interaction, Every Time
By Holly Zoba Senior VP of Sales - Hospitality, Signature Worldwide | October 02, 2011
The problem with delivering great customer service is, eventually, people find out about it and then they expect it every time.
In our training programs, we call it the value equation. To a customer, the value of your property is what they expect versus what they get. For example, if you run a mid-scale brand property, your customer expectations are probably about a seven on a scale of one to 10. They expect a clean room, nice people, efficient check-in, and decent in-room coffee. If that is what they get, they will generally be satisfied. If you come up short, the value of your hotel may go down to a five. If you exceed their expectations, they may go up to an eight. So the next time they arrive, their expectation has gone up to an eight and so to keep them satisfied, you now have to deliver an eight experience. To delight them, you have to up the ante even more.
Based on this theory, some hoteliers have said the key is to set basic expectations for our customers, and make sure we simply meet those expectations every time. Easier said than done, but here is the bigger problem. Our research has told us that 85 percent of customers who are merely "satisfied" will go to your competitor with little incentive. In addition, the minute you drop the ball and disappoint that customer, your value decreases.
Since it seems an almost impossible task to keep those customers loyal, you have two options. The first option is to give up, continue doing what you're doing and hope your competitors opt to do the same thing and just trade customers back and forth. Or, you can develop a long-range plan for continual customer improvement and begin to build the long-term value of your property.
The good news is that many of your competitors will choose option one and with all of the chatter these days via social media, their customers will be vocal about their average, or disappointing experiences. If you are planning to choose option one, you can stop reading this article now because you need to figure out how to cut more expenses.
If, instead, you are a little tired of cutting expenses and would rather grow your revenues, we have some suggestions for you.