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.
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.
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.
“European travel agents don’t like it”. That’s a statement made by one of the gentleman at my table during the mCommerce Summit earlier this month. He is from Cruise America, a successful RV (camper) vacation rental company based in Arizona, but with 123 locations around the US. We were talking about his company and their online and mobile reservation options.
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.
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.
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.
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 travel industry has made some inroads into using SMS messaging, but hasn’t yet taken real advantage of the potential of A2P messaging. Find out how it can be used to save time and provide the high-quality service today’s mobile travellers expect.