This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Benny Tjia shares lessons learned from the hospitality industry about creating a customer-focused culture. I agree that the hospitality industry seems to be the perfect place to find excellent examples of good (and bad) business practices as well as examples of customer service. […]
This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Benny Tjia shares lessons learned from the hospitality industry about creating a customer-focused culture. I agree that the hospitality industry seems to be the perfect place to find excellent examples of good (and bad) business practices as well as examples of customer service. – Shep Hyken
It was roughly about three years ago when I started developing Bornevia, a customer service help desk software, along with my team. Starting small, we continued to expand over the time period, until an inevitable problem comes as we started receiving customers’ feedback and complaints on a more regular basis. Having no previous hands-on experience in managing a customer service team whatsoever, in particular, we weren’t sure what kind of mindset or culture we should have for our company in order to interact with the customers the best way possible.
In the beginning, we did lots of interviews with other customer experience experts to learn more. But as we turned to a myriad of resources and whitepapers for answers, we eventually found out that some of the best customer service practices we’ve read were in fact from case studies in hospitality industries. Proper customer service is something this line of business has trained for — possibly for hundreds of years at the big hotel chains.
Combining all the resources I’ve read, I will note down for you some of the most important points on providing great service just like those in the hospitality industry:
It’s not just a lip service; in fact, it looks more like their primary goal in their day-to-day practice. In the case of J.W Marriott for instance, the hotel brand states that they maintain the “Spirit to Serve”, as well as protecting and respecting customers in their business conduct documentation. What this means is that Marriott hotels all around the globe have long embedded such strong customer-first values into their main principle and tradition as a business.
In light of all this, it’s no wonder J.W. Marriott retains their position as one of the biggest hotel brands all over the world.
Hospitality, we can say, is a pretty ‘old’ industry. While they have been with us possibly for hundreds of years, they are actually adapting well in this technology era. Talking about customer service, these hotel management companies, general managers and marketing directors are improving guest relationships by taking advantage of the shift happening with customer service.
For instance, there was a time when a guest is happy or disappointed by the hotel service, they would tell the staff right away. However, things are a bit different today, with customers opting instead to share their experience on social media — be it a good or a bad one.
Amazingly, many hoteliers have been quite adept in handling this shift from a more traditional interaction to a digital one. Their online reputations are remarkable too.
Take Delta Hotels for an example. In 2013, a guest named Mike McCready tweeted that his room’s view wasn’t so nice. He didn’t tag the hotel, and he wasn’t asking for anything. Delta’s customer service practice was truly magnificent as within an hour, they offered him a room with a better view. Mike also found a dish of sweets and a handwritten card from the staff at his hotel. Of course, he’s impressed.
Scott Nadel, COO of DMC Hotels, wrote about the increasing role of ethical principles in the hospitality industry, especially within their operational standards. These include accountability, honesty, integrity and respect for others. For example, at many hotels I’ve been in, customers are given what is promised and at the promised price.
In my opinion, focusing on these ethics-based services is exactly what compels the customers to keep coming back. While such an approach could be costly at first, it’s more likely to contribute the long term success of your company.
This is because as Nadel further commented on creating a strong ethical environment can result in customer satisfaction and loyalty. This would, in turn, lead to profitability growth, since your company is likely to have successfully enhanced the quality of the customer experience.
Those points above inspire me to infuse the customer-first culture into my startup. Further acknowledging the fact that giant companies in the hospitality industry are usually long-lived, any budding startups should learn as much from them in order to survive.
Benny Tjia is co-founder and CEO of Bornevia, SaaS product for better and more responsive customer support. He was educated and worked in the US. He likes writing about startups, growth, and customer experience.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: How To Get Hundreds Of Positive Online Reviews
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