Clack-Clack-Clack-Clack…. The sound of keystrokes by 14 check-in agents feverishly entering information into their computers to check-in hotel guests standing in a line that snakes down the corridor. This was the scene at a Las Vegas hotel I was staying at while attending a Customer Experience conference.
When it was finally my turn, I walked up to try and find an available agent working behind the long, curved desk. I got lucky with my second scan of the reservation desk and found an open agent who was waving her hands so I could see her. As I approached the desk she muttered “ID and Credit Card”, while looking at the computer and typing something. The agent asked for my name while looking at my ID (not sure if she thought I wouldn’t remember my name) and told me they will find me a room (this made me nervous because I booked my room a month in advance). The agent began banging on the keyboard and flipping through dated interfaces and applications. From time to time I could hear mumbling “this computer is so slow” and then she’d hit a few keys aggressively (assuming the computer would go faster).
After 15 minutes the agent looked up and said “it’s almost there, we will find you a room” and proceeded to complain that management told her check-in screens will become faster after a software update, and check-in agents will be required to enter less information. After entering some additional details and another eight minutes I hear “I got it”, as the agent looked at me with a big smile. Not so fast though, as I went to thank her, the smile faded from her face and she exclaimed: “who took my room?” My agent asked her colleagues next to her if they took the room and they both said no. The agent looked up at me and said, “I will get your room back”, then went to each agent, made them stop what they were doing, and asked if they took the room. After several minutes, she declared she got my room back. I thanked the agent for the tenacity in getting my room and left, all while thinking about the irony of the situation, I am at a national CX conference where we are supposed to learn more about providing amazing Customer Experiences.
It’s safe to say that both the Guest and Employee Customer Experience was less than desired. Our team worked on a CX initiative for an international resort recently. The resort’s focus was to provide a personalized experience to each guest at every step of the journey. Below are a few salient features of the CX solution:
- Collect preference-based information from new guests to be able to personalize their stay (in addition to standard info like room type, number of beds, etc.) every time they visit the resort. For example:
- Room temperature
- Allergies to shampoo or soap
- Wakeup call preferences
- Need for a hotel shuttle or pickup/drop-off service
- Interests – places to visit, dining options, shows, etc. (allow for customized itinerary) – this would be in addition to bundling or package deals
- Keep guests up to date on temperature (suggesting clothing to bring or an umbrella), events and other pertinent information through their guest experience app. The key is to make the app sticky.
- When the guests arrive, the hotel can quickly identify them using geofencing. It allows the resort to personalize the welcome experience for the guest.“Ms. Smith, your room with an ocean view is ready, and the temperature is set at 72℉per your request. Your reservations are also confirmed for dinner at 6 pm at XYZ restaurant and we will notify you via the app when your driver is at the front entrance to pick you up. Enjoy your stay!”
- The guest experience continues as preferences are stored (dining, entertainment, etc.) and guests are reminded ahead of time for their next activity.“Ms. Smith, your swimming with dolphins experience is confirmed for 3 pm. We will pick you up from your current location, or you can send us a different pick up address.”
The goal of improving CX while making each guest feel special was clearly articulated and accomplished. As you can imagine the resort recorded higher scores in customer satisfaction, increased both new and repeat guest count, along with a healthy increase in both revenue and bottom line.
Customer Experience is a commitment that needs to be championed at the top level of any organization, it must become part of a company’s core values as well as their goals when making innovative changes.
Now going back to my hotel stay at this CX conference, do you think I will stay in that hotel again?