Journeys That Shape Customer Experience
By Benjamin Jost Co-Founder & CEO, TrustYou | November 13, 2016
As a whole, the travel industry has been clawing its way forward to improve customer experiences. Many hotels have experimented with implementing various digital platforms and adding personalized factors to their communication systems to facilitate these improvements.
Taking a step back, however, we need to first understand "customer experience" before we can address challenges therein. Throwing technology at the problem may seem like a simple solution, but instead, it's only adding complexity and muddying the waters when it comes to creating clear, and obvious paths to improvement.
According to the "How-To Guide: Customer Journey Management" report released by Ovum, customer experience is not a solitary concept but a holistic idea that includes a series of journeys a customer takes to create an overall experience. Generally, a guest journey consists of about four to five stages and each step plays a critical part in forming customers' relationships with businesses. As such, the idea of improving "customer experience" needs to be broken up accordingly, and hotels should focus on each journey in order to create meaningful changes that improve guest satisfaction and impact the bottom line.
While "throwing technology at the problem" is the wrong approach, making strategic decisions to implement certain technologies can easily identify room for growth and expedite improved guest experiences. Think about the number of technological touch points a guest has when booking a hotel. Guests often conduct extensive online research about hotel options and communicate with various sources before making a decision. Then, having decided where they want to stay, they make reservations through online platforms where they make further interactions with different companies.
In order to understand and improve each step of the guest journey, hotels must understand how customers utilize different platforms to communicate. By recognizing the common journeys and behavioral patterns most customers take, businesses can invest in the right technologies and in turn, improve the overall customer experience. Here are the three main journeys a guest typically takes and adjustments that can be made in each stage: