A Sense of Purpose: The Key to inspiring Superior Customer Service Quality

By Steve Curtin Founder, Steve Curtin Customer Enthusiast! | April 01, 2018

After a 20-year career in the hotel industry, I’ve made some observations. Specifically, I’ve noticed that hotel reservations are routinely in order, linens are consistently changed, and meals are typically prepared to order, yet front desk agents don't always smile, housekeepers don’t always pay attention to detail, and servers don’t always display a sense of urgency. And for years I pondered the question: Why does customer service quality seem to hinge on the employee you happen to get, whether over the phone, online, or face-to-face?

In the following story, you will meet a hotel general manger named Brett who is grappling with some of the same questions. You will also meet his airplane seatmate, Evan, who provides fresh insights to inspire superior customer service quality by examining the totality of every employee’s job role and connecting their day-to-day job duties to organizational purpose.

The leadership conference had ended an hour earlier and Brett Sharp, newly-promoted hotel general manager, and his regional director, Meg Daniels, were the final two attendees remaining in the cavernous meeting room as event staff worked around them to clear the tables and reset the room for the next function.

Meg was well respected for her ability to interpret potential causes of fluctuations in results, whether operations reports, P&L statements, or guest satisfaction scores. Having received the guest satisfaction scores for Brett’s property during the conference, Meg seized the opportunity to discuss a recurring pattern she had detected: Although the incidents of hotel guests reporting a problem during their stay were down, so was guest satisfaction. In her experience, there was generally a correlation between a problem-free hotel stay and a satisfied hotel guest.

“Brett,” asked Meg, “have you been able to spend much time with this period’s guest satisfaction scores?”

“Oh, yes. Did you happen to notice all of us staking out our territory during lunch to pour over our numbers?”

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Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.