Customer experience, or CX, may be a term that is slightly overused or was seen as the buzzword of 2020 - but that is not the case. Customer experience is not a trend. It’s a real part of any business and should be seen more as a way of life rather than a fad you try for a while half-heartedly.
It’s something that requires intentional execution every day and should flow through all your policies, processes and standard operating procedures.
In today’s competitive hospitality market, service-providers need to start realising that the key to differentiation lies within being able to deliver superior experiences to your guests on a consistent basis. In order to do this, you need to build a positive internal culture that is 100% focused on the guest.
Creating consistently superior experiences for your guests is the key to differentation.
Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be.
We’ve narrowed down our top 4 most simple, yet effective tips that you need to do as a business in the service industry in order to build a guest-centric focus.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Every piece of communication needs to reflect your guest and how you can better serve them.
Whether it’s your daily briefings with the team before the shift, your notice boards, the agenda of your monthly communication meetings or the topics of your Whatsapp group chats, it all needs to involve the guest.
For your daily briefings, make sure you talk about feedback from the day before and which guests you’re expecting today. Who are they and what are their preferences (if you already know)? Who is celebrating a special occasion? What can you do for them?
For your notice boards, why not have a section dedicated to your regular or VIP guests? Have a picture with their preferences and birthdays for everyone to see. Why not print any great reviews from Google, TripAdvisor or Zomato and stick it up to keep everyone focused?
99% of companies do not communicate enough and when they do communicate it isn’t a clear message. A good rule of thumb is that you should communicate a message 3 times more than what you think is enough.
Implement ongoing recognition initiatives
The basics of driving any cultural shift is to reward those behaviours that you want to cultivate more of. So, if you want your team to be more guest-focused, you need to recognize them when they do a good job of delighting your guests.
Make sure you’re always gathering and acknowledging any guest feedback you receive, whether it’s verbal, a written email or a social media review. Share the great feedback with the team in a public setting, either during your daily briefings, notice boards or communication meetings, and make sure you highlight and recognise those team members who are specifically mentioned. Maybe even have the whole team give them a round of applause.
While sharing feedback should be an ongoing part of what you do, you should also look at having more formal recognition schemes in place revolving around the guest, and why not make it fun by creating an internal competition.
For example, you could have a scoreboard that tracks the number of guest comments your team members generate and at the end of the month you could have a prize and a small award ceremony to recognise the winner. You could do the same with anyone who performs well in your mystery guest assessments.
The possibilities are endless for what you can do. Be creative, have fun with it and just make sure you recognise what matters to you and your business.
Measure the guest experience
What gets measured gets done.
— Peter Drucker
Never has there been a more accurate quote. Plus, it’s super simple.
What do you want to deliver for your guests? What do they expect from you? What’s important to your business and brand?
Answer these questions, write it down, communicate it, train it and then measure it.
Your team need to know that what they do matters and that they are being held accountable for their actions.
You, as a manager or business owner, need to know how you’re performing against your own deliverables as well as the expectations of your guests. There are two main ways for you to do this, one proactive and the other reactive.
To be proactive in getting feedback on how you’re performing, engaging a third party mystery shopping company is a great way to measure in detail what your guests go through. This can help you to achieve a high-level of consistency and highlight potential problem areas before your guests identify any for you.
The reactive way is to set up a simple survey that your guests can fill out after their experience, either online or even a manual comment card will do. This feedback is still valuable as it’s coming directly from your guests themselves and will help you to gauge their expectations.
And obviously, make sure you’re also collecting online reviews and maintaining a social presence as well.
Take improvement seriously
It’s not enough to simply measure your guest’s experience or receive their feedback. Nothing will change if you do not take action.
Your team need to see that you take guest feedback very seriously, and that you’re implementing improvements based on what they say. This will not only improve the guest experience, but it will also solidify this culture of guest-centricity that you’re trying to develop.
Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.
— Anthony of Padua
What you do is more important than what you say. And that’s a fact.
Set up a simple improvement process for yourself. This process should start with the collection of data (i.e. your guests’ feedback), the analysis of that data and then action planning.
The analysis should take place at similar intervals or frequencies, such as weekly, monthly and quarterly. This allows you to track trends over time and see what reoccurring themes appear, helping to focus your attention on what matters most.
The action planning should also be simple. Identify the top 2-3 most important and impactful findings of your analysis, and ascertain a way to take action within a relatively quick time-frame.
And then you start again.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and so be patient with yourself and your team. And most importantly, be consistent and lead from the front.
Let’s get in touch!
We’d love to explore how we may be able to support you with your guest experience, so please reach out and someone from our team will be in touch shortly.
PO Box 393942, Dubai, UAE