The Challenge of Keeping the Modern Day Customer Happy
By Pamela Chatry,
Personal Business Manager and Strategist
Someone once said, “The only thing constant is change itself.” Never has that been truer. The constant change in the world today challenges all business owners like no other aspect of our business.
If you are a hotel, your guests are mostly well travelled and sophisticated. The average retail shopper is accustomed to comparing prices and products, and demanding satisfaction when something falls short. Customers are often more knowledgeable than your staff. However, they expect the business to not only keep up with the knowledge they have, but to know even more.
The role of technology and the Internet has allowed the traveller to see and get a feel for our hotels and local tourist attractions before they book. They see pictures and have had a sense of the property and community long before they get to us. They can also see if others enjoyed their visits or not. There are numerous Internet and blog sites that review other traveller’s experiences. The world can now read the ‘bouquets or complaints’ and make travel decisions based on those alone. It used to be that when we had a problem with a company, we would just tell our friends, now we tell the world.
The buzz word of the 90’s was ‘branding’. Once upon a time, companies like Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s etc. ruled the world. They commanded the loyalty of tens of millions of consumers. Today, customers seem to be ready to jump to the competition at the click of a mouse.
There is so much more competition. New kinds of competitors have multiplied – for example: if you own and run a small motel in the Okanogan, you are now competing against lots and lots of small, medium and larger properties that are branded with familiar names such as this one. If you run a local hardware store, you are not just competing against other hardware stores but against Internet web sites, big box retailers, giant discount outlets, and individual sellers on eBay.
The successful company in today’s world is one that has addressed all the possible risks, planned for competition, and as Jonathan M. Tisch, CEO of Leows Hotels, puts it, recognized that, “Chocolates on the pillow are no longer enough.” Strategizing and implementing phenomenal people-to-people customer service plans are what will not only set your business apart, but also to thrive in these challenging times.
Note: Special thanks to Jonathan M Tisch and his book, “Chocolates on the Pillow aren’t Enough” for stimulating my thoughts on this very timely subject.