6 Step Guide: Achieve customer excellence in Hospitality
According to KPMG research, done with 2 million evaluations across various markets and industries, the excellent customer experience is being built through the fulfillment of six fundamental components: Personalization, Integrity, Expectations, Resolution, Time, Effort, and Empathy.
Those six pillars are based on human psychology and motivation and are relevant to both B2B and B2C organizations. Yet, in order to fulfill all the criteria that this customer excellence model implies, we need tons of knowledge about our clients, market, and competitors.
Fortunately, data integration can help us with the task to offer outstanding CX. What is more, we can use data as a tool, which helps us to thrive in each of the six pillars. And every hospitality company generates lots of data, but the question here is, "Does it use data resources with a purpose, or it neglects their valuable potential?"
Now let's see in 6 steps how data helps the hospitality industry companies to offer superb customer excellence.
Adapting the customer experience to the specific circumstances of each client is a great way to engage them. In fact, the customization of services is not only a desire that our guests have but a need, an expectation. However, in order to fulfill these particular criteria, we need to acquire knowledge about the likes and preferences of each client.
Here come the benefits that data generation offers. Data collection, integration, and analytics provide opportunities to identify trends and tendencies in customer likings and understand their behavior towards them. Knowing guest's preferences enables us to use this knowledge to provide them continuous customization of not only products and services within the physical location of our business but also of offerings, discounts, and communication messages in the digital space.
Data insights are the most trustworthy tools that each hospitality business can use in order to create a personalized experience for its guests. For example, advanced analytics can "show" the organization which is the best room for a particular client, on which floor should the client be located, what view is best to provide them with, etc. What is more, data can "teach" the businesses about the likes of the guests, so that they can provide them with relevant and useful recommendations about events, stores, restaurants, and other entertainment.
Business integrity is not only about keeping the promises made to the clients. Trustworthiness has become key to an excellent experience. And if we think about it more in-depth, the customers are becoming more curious and want to know more and more about the businesses they are clients of, including internal information about policies, financial statements, partnerships, etc. In fact, according to a 2016 study of Label Insight, 94% of the interviewed customers (of cross-industry companies) claim that they would become loyal to a brand that conducts all of its business processes transparently. And Hospitality makes no exception.
As this particular industry is related to tons of personal data generation and usage, it is key for businesses to ensure the security of these data sets and communicate the security policies to the guests. In this case, implementing a Data Governance policy is crucial, as the clients will know that their data will not be abused, manipulated, taken advantage of, or sold to third parties. And by knowing that they can trust your business, the guests will become more engaged, loyal, and satisfied with the overall experience they have with the services.
From a realistic point of view, it's extremely difficult to exceed the expectations of the customers, taking into account the fact that they evolve constantly and are slowly being transformed into demands.
Now, what the guests expect is to receive a value that exceeds the price paid. And the good news is that advanced data analytics can give the hospitality businesses a hand on this matter.
Gathering qualitative and quantitative data, and using analytics to identify repeating trends, facilitates your organization to be the first one to recognize and satisfy customer expectations. Using first-hand data is the tool to gain competitive advantage by understanding the customers better than any other company in the industry. This effectively contributes to high-quality CX.
However, what kind of data are you integrating is an important question that should not be underestimated. For example, hospitality businesses that use Big and Dark Data analytics have the possibility to identify and see far more opportunities on how to satisfy their clients, compared to companies that integrate only Big Data.
Dark Data has the potential to provide organizations with valuable insights, which are hidden from the industrial competitors, and use those for decision-making to achieve customer excellence through exceeding expectations. Often, this type of data "shows" guests’ expectations based on past events and trends. This creates an opportunity to satisfy demands and needs before they have even arisen, and bring additional value to the experience of the clients.
Converting negative experiences into positive ones is a tough job. And in Hospitality, to turn things around is even a greater challenge, as the guests are more demanding and critical than ever.
However, using artificial intelligence to provide high-quality customer service can help businesses in that sense. For example, in the form of a chatbot. Such quick, responsive, helpful, kind, and immediate service is capable of solving almost all the problems and unpleasant situations that customers face and make them feel being taken care of.
For example, if any issue with the room appliances occurs (AC, TV, lights, bed, etc.), automated and smart customer service will allow the guests to report those problems with a few clicks, and to receive fast help. Such advanced analytics allow the hospitality companies to make the best out of their customer support service and provide intelligent resolutions to occurred issues.
5. Time and effort
In the hospitality industry, minimizing customer effort is directly linked to a high level of customer satisfaction because guests want to be taken care of and treated in a special and personal way.
One way to provide convenience to the guests is to implement an IoT network. The opportunity to connect the guests' phones to this network, enables them to save time and effort in doing daily activities, such as unlocking the room door without the need of a key, regulating room temperature even if they are not inside yet, order food with a few clicks, report a problem quickly, etc. Having all those convenient features on their phones will make the customers feel like in at-home environment, and will contribute to achieving experience excellence.
Knowing your individual customers well is the key to building rapport with them. And knowing how to communicate with each client is essential to ensure customer excellence.
Data integration allows you to build detailed buyer personas, which correspond directly with your customer groups and are based on personality and psychological characteristics. This enables the organization to predict personal preferences and behaviors, to be empathetic to the specific circumstances of each guest, and take care of their needs and wants in a relevant way. As a result, the level of customer satisfaction will rise tremendously because the guests will feel understood, pleased, and cared for.
Companies try to achieve customer excellence by implementing a few changes in their practices. However, in order to ensure high-quality CX, it is key to act on a big scale, taking into account all of the six satisfaction pillars. Only then, the business entity will see an increasing number of happy customers, positive reviews, and enhanced reputation.