Customer experience is everything. The way your customers feel, the interactions they have and their entire end-to-end journey with your brand define this experience.
This can refer to physical interactions (such as the cleanliness of your venue) and the non-physical (digital) interactions with your brand. We will be focussing on the latter of the two, looking at the Martech (Marketing Technology), which can support you in improving your customer’s experience.
Customers demand a high level of personalisation, in every interaction with your brand. Employing a personal touch is what will place you above the competition. With the tools available today, there’s no reason you cannot also provide this level of personalisation on the digital front. Some platforms will even help your on-site staff, by personalising your customer’s experience even at your venues!
Your website is likely to be the first real impression a customer has of your brand. It is therefore, essential to make a good first impression. Here are a few points to stick to with your website, to ensure an incredible customer experience;
Often referred to as UX or User Experience, it is critical that your website is well designed and easy to follow, for anyone visiting for the first time. It is essential to have clear and concise navigation that guides visitors through your site, to anything your potential customer could find valuable. This varies from information about your product/services, to pricing, or simply the booking process. It is also critical that your website is quick loading! In this world of immediacy, nobody stays on a website that slows them down.
A great website guides a visitor through a refined, thought-out conversion path. This may include making a booking, requesting more information, posting a recommendation or just finding out your location/opening times. While this sounds like the top requirement for you and your business goals, it’s also a requirement of your customer. Your website needs to make it easy for the visitor to do all of these things. Any friction, and they’ll leave your site and go to a competitor.
Your website needs to make an impact visually, but also deliver an authentic representation of your venue and services. Hero images have become a great way to present beautiful imagery throughout your website and are likely to be the very first impression you make on your visitors. Make sure they are high-quality (not pixelated) and alluring. Photography is an art, be sure to use a professional.
Today, people are visiting your website from a variety of platforms. According to StatCounter in a report towards the tail end of 2016, global mobile web browsing actually overtook desktop for the first time. Given this fact, It’s never been more important than now, to make sure your website is optimised for mobile devices. In-fact, you may even wish to consider a separate design that specifically caters to mobile visitors – rather than trying to make desktop content work on mobile.
Alluring visuals, backed up by a smooth user experience – quick, easy to use, with clear and concise navigation, are all critical elements for your website and the experience of your visitors, alongside the information you provide. Additional content based around visiting your venue will also solidify your expertise within the customer’s mind – for example; Hotels might offer local sightseeing information, or restaurants may provide information on local entertainment venues. It all shows that you care about your customer having the greatest experience possible.
CRM platforms are all about leveraging data made available to you, given by customers as they progress along their customer journey; from strangers to brand authorities & promoters of your services.
A Customer Relationship Management system can benefit your Hospitality company, both in terms of the physical and digital experiences of your customers. On the digital side of things, CRM’s can log every visitor interaction with your company, adding their details to a centralised database. This makes it easy for your team to then personalise communications with potential customers!
However, a great CRM can also take it one step further, providing all this information to staff at your hotel or restaurant, for example, ahead of your customer’s visit. This enables a unique & personalised service that takes into account any requests and requirements, well ahead of time. Think about it this way, if you were to return to a hotel you had previously stayed at, wouldn’t you prefer to to be greeted with “welcome back” rather than the question “have you stayed with us before?”. It is this level of detail that can make a huge difference in your customer’s experience, by making them feel special in this way you also promote a sense of luxury.
3. Email Marketing Automation
Email Marketing is an effective tool for reconnecting with your existing customers and extending their lifetime value. It is also a great tool for creating a personalised customer experience using automation. So how can something automated be personalised?
Automation is all about utilising the data that is available to you. Data such as name, date of birth, bookings and details such as reason for booking are all accessible if you have a centralised database CRM system. You can use this information as follows;
You can use name tags to address your customer personally in your automated emails.
Date Of Birth
If acquired during booking process can be used to send Happy Birthday emails with special offers
If your guest booked a room or a table as part of an anniversary celebration, you can have an automated email scheduled to ping them the month before this date in the following years to prompt booking the same again or making a special offer.
If your guest booked a standard room in your hotel, you could have an automated email offer the opportunity to upgrade to a superior room or to book additional services that you may offer.
The opportunities to provide a personalised service to your customers via automated emails are pretty much limitless. You just need a strategy for acquiring these details and a system set up to make the most of the data.
For more information on Email Marketing, see our top 5 recommendations to enhance your email marketing campaigns.
4. Social Media Monitoring
Social channels like Twitter and Facebook are great for proactively promoting your brand and the services you offer, meeting your customers where they are. But, they have also become a great tool for customer service.
You can use tools such as Buffer or ‘Social Inbox’ within Hubspot, to monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand, or keywords relevant to your service. With social monitoring, you can get the inside track on what your potential customers are talking about and identify opportunities for engagement through social media channels. It can also be used to flag any mentions of your brand or products, allowing you to respond directly and with speed. With social monitoring you can turn negative experiences into positive ones.
Answering your customers, on the platforms they reside in, gives a personalised feel based on the direct response via their personal profile. It is important for the respondee to be sympathetic with the customers concerns (if negative) and try to resolve any issue quickly and to a satisfactory level.
5. Customer Survey
If you’re really struggling to find ways you can improve your service, you probably aren’t utilising social monitoring or a CRM system as described above. The best thing you can do is ask your customers directly via a customer survey.
Customer surveys work in two ways for improving the customer experience. Firstly, you will get actionable responses from your customers. They will tell you what you need to do to improve their experience! But, secondly and quite subtly, you will also show that you CARE about their satisfaction and are looking to improve based on their recommendations. Again, this feeds back to providing a personalised experience of your brand.
Today’s economy is starting to be driven by millennials who want experiences more than anything, as suggested by the Harris Research study commissioned by Eventbrite back in 2014. Advances in technology and the leveraging of data can support you in creating these experiences in both the digital and physical interactions you make as a brand.
Customers want to feel special and unique and this is what they are willing to pay for. A CEI survey revealed that:
“86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience” – Forbes.com
The points raised in this article are the foundations of creating first-rate customer experience. If you get these right you will be well on your way to improving your customer experience, retaining your customers and extending their lifetime value.
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