Customer service is the foundation of hospitality – and the hospitality industry knows better than any other the importance of good client relations.
Attention to the customer experience is what sets any given airline, hotel or sales agent apart from the competition. As such, the industry is continually innovating, improving and augmenting customer relations strategy. However, it is often useful to remind yourself of the foundations of a dynamic and profitable customer service approach. Below is an introduction to the key principles of Customer Relationship Management and a compilation of some of the most compelling statistics about customer service. With this information, every customer relations department can ensure they have these essential principles at the forefront of their manifesto.
An introduction to Customer Relationship Management
Before discussing these essential statistics, it is useful to introduce the foundational principles of an effective customer relations strategy. One of the most important components is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. However, many professionals are mistaken in thinking that CRM is merely a technological solution. It is, in fact, a holistic approach to organized customer relations. This includes training employees, modifying processes, and adopting relevant IT systems encompassing software and hardware.
Furthermore, CRM is more than the practice of collecting customer data. It is about using historic, personal, and experiential information to create personalized customer experiences. Meanwhile, businesses can generate incremental opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. In general, these diverse data can include responses to campaigns, purchase data, account information, demographic data, and web analytics.
The parameters of successful CRM
- Truly successful CRM systems are integrated into corporate strategy. These emphasize customer-centric approaches, encouraging these philosophies to permeate the organization.
- In addition, businesses should ensure their technological solutions are fully integrated. This will ensure every department has access to the tools they need for successful CRM application.
- Outstanding CRM implementation will enhance strategic partnerships and effective coordination amongst partners.
- Finally, those responsible for CRM activities should ensure CRM-related technologies are assimilated across the organization. Otherwise, misuse or under-utilization could compromise the effectiveness of these activities.
The key benefits of CRM
For the hospitality industry, effective CRM has numerous key benefits. These encompass customer satisfaction and retention, driving their share of category spend, and the likelihood of referral business. This is a direct result of strengthening customer relations by consistently meeting their needs. As a result, businesses can increase sales through timely offers and anticipating their clients' requirements. Moreover, the data retained in the CRM can help business more effectively identify specific customer preferences and opportunities for upselling. From here, analysis can highlight the most profitable customer segments.
However, these are data are not only useful in regard to existing customers; it is also essential to acquisition. With an effective CRM strategy, businesses can deploy targeted marketing materials that respond to preferences. This more personal approach can have a direct impact on product development, which will ensure enhanced acquisition and retention. As such, a business’s reputation in the marketplace will continue to grow while existing customers generate more value. Furthermore, by developing marketing content and products based on evidence, businesses can improve efficiency and reduce overheads.
Once a business looks after its existing companies effectively, they can focus their efforts on expanding their market. After all, the more a business knows about what their existing customers want, it is easier to identify new prospects. However, even with the biggest pool of accumulated knowledge, there is always room for improvement. Customer needs change over time – however, technology allows businesses to gain more insight into these changing attitudes. With the proper data capture and analysis software, companies can ensure they exploit this intelligence to its full potential.
Customer relations: 10 stats worth knowing
- During the booking process, approximately 78% of consumers will abandon the transaction or make a less profitable selection because of a poor customer service experience.
- 70% of purchase experiences are based on how valued the customer feels. In the hospitality industry, this could be affected by a number of factors. For instance, being left on hold for too long could be the difference between a rave review and a dissatisfied customer. Equally, confusing or excessively long booking processes can leave customers feeling frustrated.
- It is 5–25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a return customer. Therefore, it is essential to invest in a customer loyalty strategy. In summary, make sure to obtain a guest’s contact information; offer them a remarkable experience; and finally, after their stay, maintain regular contact.
- 7 in 10 people say they are willing to spend more with companies they believe provide exceptional customer service.
- A typical business hears from just 4% of its dissatisfied customers. Therefore, there is an enormous amount of information regarding dissatisfied customers that goes undocumented.
- 24% of American adults have posted comments or reviews online about the product or services they have bought. However, this means that 76% have not. Therefore, it is important to never assume that guests will share feedback about your hotel – it will take a special effort to compel the majority of guests to share their positive experience.
- In the world of online reviews, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for 1 unresolved negative experience.
- News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good experience.
- 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again.
- 86% of consumers stop doing business with a company because of poor client relations.
Outstrip the competition
Perhaps another important statistic to remember is that 81% of companies with strong client relations records outperform the competition. This may seem like an obvious statement, but sometimes figures are useful to understand the material impact of poor customer service. Hotels need to know their customer, their behavior, aspirations and needs inside out. Consequently, they should channel all their resources into continually improving client relations. Therefore, it is essential that hospitality companies channel sufficient resources – both human and technological – into their customer relationship management strategy.