Why Customer-Centric Companies Win

By Megan Wenzl Associate Editor, ReviewTrackers | October 01, 2017

It is hard to argue that a company’s primary focus be anything else but the customer, but just how essential is it for companies to be customer-focused? The answer is - very essential. A major part of being customer-focused is understanding and then ensuring you are giving customers what they want. Specifically, if customers are looking for experiences, then create experiences that are unique and personalized. Details matter.

In the 21st century, customers have access to a wide variety of valuable third-party information about businesses to help them decide on a hotel at which to stay on their next vacation. While customers are using third-party data like online reviews for research, companies should be using the information for research, too – to understand, improve and continuously update the customer experience.

The only way, however, to create meaningful experiences is by starting at the very core of a company - by building a customer-centric foundation in which the culture thrives on delighting the customer. For example, the way the food is made at your hotel’s restaurant should be focused on what the customer wants. Is feedback from your customer data saying that the food should be local? Then make it local. All leaders and departments within your company should be focused on work that matters to the customer. This again reverts back to creating a culture that values the customer at its core - this involves engagement from all of your employees and excitement to create memorable guest experiences. For many employees, this means learning new customer service skills and thinking of customer interactions differently. This is good because companies will obtain and retain valuable customers.

Your customers are people with emotions. They have worries and fears, hopes and dreams, and they want to spend their money on a product or service provided by a company with which they feel a connection. It is in those days or weeks that they are choosing to stay at your hotel, to share a moment of their lives with your staff, that provides a ripe opportunity for hotel executives to create personalized experiences their guests will never forget.

An Entire Town Creates a Program for Customer Service

Consider this: An entire town in Colorado pushed for better customer service with a new customer service training program. Why? Because the town cares about the its guest experience and found that its Net Promoter Score – a rating that comes from the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?” – was only a score of 70 ( out of 100 ) in 2013.

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.