Hotels Use Text Messaging to Help Improve Customer Experiences
Hotels constantly strive to improve customer experiences, but sometimes things go awry. Their customers take to social media or online review sites like Tripadvisor.com to complain about every little thing they didn’t like.
Bad service. Dirty bathrooms. Too noisy. Small rooms. Broken lights.
Many of these problems could have been fixed if the customer had complained while at the hotel rather than later when they had returned home. In his commentary on the state of the American hotel industry on hotelexecutive.com, Geoff Dutton points out that the bad reviews people write are customer failures. And he thinks text messaging could be a way to avoid those failures.
To see why, you have to think about why people don’t complain while it’s happening. Travelers are often busy and don’t want to be put on hold, or be asked to wait for a return call. In some cases people just don’t want to make a fuss, be singled out, or deal with a potential conflict. Here’s a quote taken from a recent review on Tripadvisor.com for a hotel in London:
“We felt disrespected to a point that we were so upset I would have lost my cool if I had complained to a manager. In all honesty I just wanted to leave and felt saddened by how bad service was.”
Offering a text message service solely for guests to send complaints or service requests to is a modern way to help these customers help themselves and you.
It helps customers by:
- Providing a quick way to send a request without waiting on hold or in line for the manager.
- While not totally anonymous, a text message is much less confrontational than an in person or over the phone conversation.
- Gives the customer time to compose a thoughtful comment and potentially diffuse any anger about the situation by the time a solution arrives.
- Ultimately they will have a better experience as their issues are resolved.
It helps hotels by:
- Engaging customers while still at the hotel where they can effect a happy solution.
- Reduce the amount of negative comments reported on social media and online review sites.
- Consolidating complaints and requests into a single list to make them easier to track and resolve.
But beyond these reasons, Mr. Dutton makes a good case for why text messaging could work to help the entire organisation:
“At its most basic level, a text based engagement model provides a direct line from the guest to the manager. It offers the opportunity for every guest to become a mystery shopper. We deem this quality “ambient accountability:” when every employee knows that there is a direct line to management, magically the public bathrooms are cleaner, guest interaction is more positive and guest requests are responded to more quickly.”
He goes on to say text messaging could become a “real time training tool” for the operations team. Using text messaging for customer engagement is a win-win situation for all.
In many ways, SMS messaging is so commonplace people don’t think about it. They just do it. For example, using SMS for mobile marketing in retail is a fairly standard use case whether you’re a company or the consumer. But there are always exceptions – those who innovate when it seems there’s nothing new to be had. Here are two examples of companies from the US using SMS in ways no one else is – yet.
Hotels constantly strive to improve customer experiences, but sometimes things go awry. Many problems could be fixed if the customer complains while at the hotel rather than later when they return home. By having a 'textline' you can give guests the opportunity to share their views directly with management without a direct confrontation.
Even great hotels sometimes have a mix up or some sort of problem that can affect a guest. And with social media and hotel review sites, chances are a disgruntled guest isn’t going to keep their complaints to themselves. Here are three examples of how to use SMS messaging to gauge customer satisfaction.
In order to appeal to new customers and interact with existing ones, businesses are always looking for new marketing methods. Whilst many companies are using traditional and online marketing techniques, these aren’t always effective. Email filtering, for example, means that many recipients may not even be aware that they’ve received contact from your company. As many email hosts provide in-built spam filters, it’s easy for email marketing content to be overlooked or ignored completely. SMS marketing, however, overcomes many of the obstacles associated with online and email marketing. Whilst potential customers may not see your company emails, SMS messages aren’t filtered in the same way. The delivery rate is, therefore, far higher for SMS messages in comparison to marketing emails.
More and more industries are tuning in to the advantages that SMS marketing can offer their business. SMS marketing is not only useful for acquiring new customers, it can be used to increase brand loyalty as well. This is particularly true for the hospitality industry, which faces challenges unique from other industries, in that they are on the front line when it comes to delivering customer service.
The campervan and caravan industry grew 16% this past year. Campsite and holiday park owners can connect with the thousands of new travellers using SMS messaging. After all, 76% of travellers prefer to take their mobile on holiday rather than a friend.
SMS marketing can be a double-edged sword, which is why it's crucial to ensure that each one of your campaigns is well thought out, immaculately spelt, financially accurate (i.e., the prices listed are correct), and, perhaps most importantly, the time and date is 100% accurate. Only once you have triple-checked each one of the components should you then consider sending out a batch.
Your customers are likely thinking about food at certain times of the day, and at those times their phone is almost certainly within arms reach. Using SMS marketing you can time your messages perfectly because you know that the time you send them is the time they get read, usually within 2 minutes.
Now that the peak travel season is over, how can travel agents stay top of mind in their customers? If you look around, you’ll notice everyone seems to have a mobile. That means SMS is the perfect way to reach them and make sure you’re not forgotten.