April, 2010

If you are still playing the old customer service card and expecting to win…think again! In today’s age the customer service bar is much higher than what it used to be; the only way to win loyalty is to deliver an experience that exceeds expectations. The guest understands that no one is perfect and things will go wrong at times, however, what the new age guest demands is an honest effort to make corrections quickly. In many cases the guest is demanding this in public (online). If a business is able to resolve the problem to the client satisfaction, then it stands to gain a brand ambassador far more powerful than any ad campaign. However, if a business is not prepared to take responsibility and is sluggish in their half hearted effort, things could go very wrong as evidenced in the video below which has been viewed over 8 million times on YouTube.
The magic formula undoubtedly is to ensure that every customer is happy. There is no such thing as ‘We can’t please everyone’! The benefits reaped by adopting this customer experience approach will far outweigh the costs incurred.
By Teg Brar, MSc.

Foursquare is a location aware social platform with a fun gaming component (my previous post explains Foursquare). Already, there are several implications that hospitality businesses can take advantage of Foursquare and here are a few ways I think the hospitality industry can benefit from using this social platform.

-Cafes, restaurants and hotels can reward users with incentives for using Foursquare. For example a discount could be offered to Foursquare users who check in into that location.

-There could be a separate promotion to reward anyone who achieves ‘mayor’ status every week. Think about it, this is really an offshoot of your loyalty program…or should I say a loyalty program on steroids and very transparent!

-Guest satisfaction reigns supreme! Happy patrons will ‘shout’ tips to their friends and happily make suggestions that can benefit a business in more than one ways.

-People might use the platform to see which of their friends have checked into a certain location or how busy it is. As this social platform is in its very early stages of inception it remains to be seen if people will use it as a metric to decide if they should visit a club or restaurant.

-Hospitality businesses can easily harness the robust information available about their customers and competition. This location aware platform is more robust than the likes of Brightkite and Gowalla and early adopters can take huge advantage…just like Twitter a couple of years ago!

Read my full article on Foursquare published in ehotelier.

by Teg Brar