3 Reasons Why Focusing On Guest Satisfaction Is A Losing Battle

Here's What You Should to Do Instead...

By Justin Effron Co-Founder & CEO, ALICE | January 28, 2018

In the world of retail, knowing what your customer wants, when they want it, how much, and how frequently can be the difference between a booming business and going out of business. In the service industry however, getting to know your customer's preferences isn't quite as clear-cut. 

Trying to understand the capricious whims and complex emotions of human beings you're hoping to please is an exercise in futility at best and can actually harm your relationships at worst. Why? Because pretending to know someone you don't really have a deep relationship with can come across as presumptuous and insensitive. And should your guesses actually be correct, you can inadvertently come across even worse because no one likes to think of themselves as being that predictable.

So what's a GM to do to make their guests feel right at home? The solution is to not make their stay anything like home. Make your guests feel like guests! In this regard, we've listed three common pitfalls of trying to placate clients that hotels often fall into, and their respective solutions. By putting the focus on a winning culture instead of winning over customers, you'll be more effective in getting the desired result: satisfied guests who'll want to return again and again.

1. If You're Trying To Guess What Guests Want, You're Probably Getting It Wrong 

The same guest doesn't necessarily behave the same way from one visit to the next. For starters, that guest could be on a business trip, family vacation, romantic getaway, or girls' night out. Even if it's always a business trip, what's the nature of the business this time around? Is it pitching a new client, trying to keep from losing a client, or being wooed as a client by another business? Is it an easygoing trip or a stressful one where everything is on the line-including his or her job? What's his mood like now? What's the season? What's going on in her life?

If your hotel bases its services and amenities on what a particular guest wanted the last time they stayed with you, you're probably not going to get it right. So why even try? No one expects you to. What guests expect is great service, convenient amenities, comfortable accommodations, and the preferences they'd requested for this visit. Just do that and do a spectacular job of it, without trying to know what your guest will want before they do.

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.