Great Service is the one safeguard for all business retention. Whoever argued that hotels should be viewed through retail eyes?

The above was a comment made by a leading CEO last week who noted: “The biggest risks which every business faces this year is that market trends change so much more rapidly than in previous years. One can not afford to be slow to react. I accept this is easy to say but the hard truth today is that one has to be prepared to change with a very fast reaction time. This means that companies do need to use data that much better and technology also. I suspect most hospitality companies are still not at a good enough level. So what will protect them? Great service. Great service and Great service.

Hospitality is an easy business. Care for your guest and they will return. Guests love being valued and being recognised as an individual. This is the industry’s safety net”

There is little doubt that all organisations are working hard to care for their customers and clients. Have you noticed that there has been a real step up even in service from call centres in the last few years?

However, as the above comment notes, it is also about creating a balance between data management, technological advances and personal service. There is probably a way to go but the journey has begun.

A leading hotel GM noted: “ Customer experience is just about care for an individual. I think the whole industry has worked very hard in ensuring that we raise the bar and inspire our guests through the experience they receive. A few years ago, I used to get quite annoyed as I saw better reception services in corporate offices than in hotels but I think that pendulum has swung back and now hotels once again lead the way. May this continue as being a hotelier is all about happy guests.

I will be controversial and say that the trend in hotels to view rooms through retail eyes was one of the worst things that happened to our industry. A hotel is not a retail shop and nor should it ever be. It took twenty years to that philosophy decline and now we are back to being hoteliers and thank God.”

In recent times, it has almost become a cliché to note that the customer today is looking for an experience; that we today have an experiential economy. It maybe true but the one thing that we will keep a client retained is the service they receive. Research from SalesForce noted that 80% of customers now consider the experience a company provides to be as important as its products and services. In addition, 66% of customers expect companies to already have a clear understanding of their needs and actions.

It was also interesting that many noted how busy London was in the post Christmas sales but how few were actually holding shopping bags. Is this because the customer gets a better experience, and price, online?

To place all this in context:

  • Over 80% of senior executives believe that poor customer service is one of their major threats in business
  • It is estamited that US businesses lose over $35 bn a year through avoidable customer mistakes
  • The customer experience management market is growing at 18% per year
  • Over 60% note they will pay 5% more for a better customer experience
  • 66% note that they will remain loyal to those who provide good care and service.

It does all build a picture which does suggest that the opening comment is correct.