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 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.
Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
SMS marketing has seen a huge uplift in popularity in recent years, with big brands investing in the technology to better engage with their customers. There are so many benefits of SMS marketing, from the ability to directly to reach customers with your communications, to the fact that over 80% of SMS texts are read. With over approximately 90% of the world receiving mobile coverage, you’re highly likely to be able to reach your audience, regardless of where they are. SMS marketing is cost effective, and campaigns are quick to develop, in as short a time period as the time it takes to write a text message. This gives you the advantage of being able to communicate quickly, and effectively with customers, reacting to information almost instantaneously. With so many reasons to use SMS marketing, we’ve highlighted four sectors successfully using SMS messaging as case studies to highlight the advantages of investing in the technology.
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.
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.
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.
People love live music. Ticket sales worldwide are expected to reach $20.5 Billion (~£14.2B). The UK alone has around 900 festivals each year. There just aren’t enough headliners to go around. What else can you do to draw people to your event (whether you have a headliner or not)? The answer: Make your event an experience rather than just a destination.
Festival season is upon us! Experienced festival organisers predict that to be successful you need more than just music. You’ll need to offer an experience to your attendees. In the last blog I covered some of the reasons for that, and ideas on how to start building your SMS marketing list before your festival begins. In part 2, we’ll take a look at how to use SMS to create engaging experiences for attendees while they are at your festival, and even after they leave.
So many of us are used to having our mobiles around nearly 24 hours a day that it’s easy to forget it’s still a growing industry. And though SMS has been around for over two decades, the ways we use it and people’s willingness to use it continues to grow. So for this blog I picked out five facts about mobile and SMS that really make the case that SMS for business has come of age. Let’s see if you agree.
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.