By Mat Bray, Sector Manager for Hospitality and Travel at Rant & Rave
One of the biggest challenges for hospitality and leisure brands is that customers expect more than ever before, and the solution will need to be tailored to each organisation. Brands must listen to their customers to find out where they’re slipping up and what they need to rectify – by acting upon this feedback, they will gain a much deeper understanding of what exactly their customers’ expectations are, and work towards meeting them.
For every organisation, the challenges are different and dependent upon their current circumstances. Some are stuck trying to find the right technology to support their approach to CX, while others are struggling to engage and empower their employees.
We’ve identified three ways that hospitality and leisure brands can transition to meet and exceed customer expectations…
- Engage with customers as individuals, one-to-one:
It’s no longer acceptable to be targeting a broad group of customers; this doesn’t deliver the quality feedback that is required to make a difference. Hospitality and leisure facilities must focus on customers as individuals and tailor communications and service as best they can to suit their particular needs. This will equip the brand to make a real impact on them and gain one-to-one insights.
Technology implementation will allow brands to understand what it is their customers want. They will be able to build a detailed customer profile and use this information in a meaningful way, showing customers that they recognise their needs and care about what is important to them.
- Empower employees through customer feedback – share it with them
The first step here is to be bold and share customer feedback with those key employees. They can only learn and adapt if they know exactly what they, and the business, are doing well, and which areas they may need to improve on. Some brands are still afraid to do this, but what they’re likely to find is that when feedback is about individual employees, customers often have a lot of positive things to say. They appreciate personal interactions which improves their experiences.
Both in person and in contact centres, customers appreciate a good quality conversation and an employee who is thoughtful, patient, attentive, and has time to spend with them on a one-to-one basis. This experience will be reflected in the feedback which is a very positive thing to share with the employee involved.
If or when there is an issue, if customers are given the opportunity to explain, they are usually quite good at feeding back, especially if brands are asking them to express their feelings in their own words as they are more able to get across the sentiment of their comments and feel heard. When employees have access to verbatim comments from customers, they become more independent. They start to use the feedback as a barometer to measure their day-to-day performance. This process helps them to recognise when they’ve done a good job, as well as work on the areas in which they need to improve.
This approach can then be supported by management recognition of the employee’s achievements. By highlighting successes that customers have shared, they’ll feel appreciated, motivated and empowered.
- Embrace real-time feedback – brands need to build up a picture of their customers’ needs early on and address them immediately
Many brands have made significant changes to their approach to CX and have seen good results, but now it’s about moving from good to great. It’s about marginal gains and micro-transformations within the business that will slowly push service to meet and excel rapidly changing customer expectations. For brands to know where they should make these changes, they need to be connected to what their customers want continuously. No two customers are the same and no two experiences are the same, but it’s easy to spot patterns and by listening, these can be remedied, which puts brands on the front foot.
Customers are the single most important source of information for brands, and in order to access this, brands need a real-time pulse check at a transactional level. This approach will allow them to build up a picture of their customers’ needs early on so that they can start to address them immediately. This will create an agile organisation that is sensitive to what its customers are saying on a day-by-day basis.