Ever wondered what you can do to improve your customers’ experience with your brand? Now is the time to create a customer experience (CX) strategy.

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Towel in Hotel Room

Towel in Hotel Room, Welcome guests, Room service

The luxury hotel space is competitive but players are stepping up to the plate to keep up with rapidly evolving consumer demands.

When you think of luxury hotels, what comes to mind? Is it a mountain of soft pillows and ultra-high thread Egyptian cotton sheets, a room service menu that compares to a Michelin starred restaurant? Whatever your hopes and expectations maybe, hoteliers need to find unique experiences for every guest to stay ahead of the competition.

THE 5-STAR EXPERIENCE

Customer Experience is synonymous with hospitality, so it should be no surprise that CX is a defining characteristic of successful hotels. For luxury brands, hotels are another opportunity to enhance the customer experience.

The decision for luxury brands to expand into the hospitality industry of hotels boils down to taking advantage of an already existing brand reputation. However, how consumers interact with the human factor behind luxury brands can become more important than the physical products in some cases. In order to thrive, hotel businesses are seeing they need a unique angle to draw in customers. And it comes down to the personal touch.

STANDING OUT FROM THE “OVER-CROWD”

5-star hotels do not just get it right, but do so every time.

ProxyClick asked two respected 5 star hotel specialists (Egidio Marcat, Head of the Alumni Association of the prestigious Hotel Management school in Glion, Switzerland and Judith Schroeder, former Receptionist of the Year) to give us their tips. Their top 5 recommendations — and examples — included:

  • Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes: You get a client coming in after a long flight. They’re tired. They need some rest, and certainly don’t want to hear that their room isn’t ready. 
  • Humans first, raise your head from that screen (and smile): Your workload is heavier than usual and there is some reporting you need to submit on a tight deadline. But there’s someone at your desk needing your assistance.
  • The client is king (or at least they have to think they are): You’re exhausted. Maybe you’re going through a personal crisis. Or it’s just been a horrible day. We’ve all been there. But a huge part of being in the service industry is being that hero that someone needs.
  • Good communication and team spirit are key: Judith Schroeder, a Glion graduate, has no doubt about what it takes to provide a great reception. And she emphasizes that having a good team, with good communication, is what makes the difference.
  • Situations might be challenging but ‘No’ is never the answer: Receptionists have seen it all. Good ones learn how to turn unfavorable twists and turns into opportunities to offer extraordinary service to their customers.

They concluded ‘Guest management is for companies what bread is for restaurants: a detail that makes all the difference between an average establishment and a star one. Corporations can learn a lot from the hotel business and hospitality spirit: how well they put those teachings into practice will be key to their company’s future success.’

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE RESEARCH

From the way guests are greeted to the way the dinner table is set, you can expect the same, excellent level of service delivery every time you visit. Many hotels offer luxurious rooms, fine dining, beautiful décor, and world-class amenities, but how do you really know you are delivering and exceeding your guests’ expectations? Partnering with the right research field force is a critical first step in seeing your business through your customer’s eyes.

Market research is or should be, an essential component to every hospitality marketing strategy. Properly done, research can provide invaluable insights into customer perspectives, decision drivers, competitive positioning, brand impressions, market disruptors, and many other significant influencers. Research-based decisions can ultimately determine the success or failure of a product, service or organization. Inaccurate, incomplete or poor quality data can have a more devastating impact than no data at all.

QUALITY MARKET RESEARCH FROM BARE INTERNATIONAL

The Hospitality industry has been the cornerstone of BARE’s business since launching in 1987. Since then, management professionals at locations including hotels, resorts, conference centers, restaurants, bars, and spas have leveraged BARE’s deep understanding of the Hospitality industry to customize research programs allowing clients to streamline operations, increase integrity, and improve the quality of customer service.

How do we ensure your customers are receiving the best possible customer service? A customized formula of mystery calling and shopping, in-store and online audits, e-mailing, and mystery leads reveals how well your employees were trained and brand standards are executed.

Contact us today to receive a complimentary evaluation of your business with BARE International.

As a business, your online reputation is incredibly precious. As more consumers rely on online research, your brand’s reputation can make or break your business.

In 2019, online reputation management (ORM) is not only applicable to every business with an online presence; ignoring it can cost you customers and money. Are you paying attention?

YOUR REPUTATION ALREADY EXISTS

Whether you like it or not, if your business is online, your reputation is also. With more than 90% of consumers now looking at online reviews before they buy from a company, you have the potential to gain, or lose that 90% based on what your consumers can find…

  • On Google: When someone needs to find information on a business/product, they search online. If you don’t have this information available through your own site, you risk having your competition, negative reviews or false information ranking at the top of the search results instead of your own accurate information.
  • On Social Media: The same goes for your social media presence. With over 2 billion users across all of the major social networks, there’s a pretty good chance someone is talking about you. Without an online presence in social media, there is no one to respond to these comments or answer questions that people might have. Without responses to these mentions and queries, the loyalty of customers is being lost. This is why you need reputation management.

MANAGING YOUR REPUTATION

Reputation management is the process of taking your online reputation back into your own hands. By investing in Online Reputation Management, you’ll create an active online standing to help boost your brand’s legitimacy and credibility.

As you’ll see in the infographic below, courtesy of WebpageFX, online reviews and reputation management is crucial to a business’ long-term well-being.

 Infograph Image Courtesy of WebpageFX

ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT FROM BARE INTERNATIONAL

As you can see by the above infographic, consumers will not patronize a business that they don’t trust. To ensure that your company is benefiting from a current online standing, taking back control is the first step.

With BARE’s Online Reputation Management services, you can view all reviews by real customers across multiple review and social media platforms including YelpGoogleTripAdvisor, and more. What’s more, you’ll be able to strengthen relationships with your customers and monitor feedback, allowing the resolution of issues quickly for unhappy customers.

Social Media Reviews are aggregated into your dashboard with the rest of your program, allowing a seamless view of how different outlets in your business work together to provide your customer’s experience.

If you want your business to be successful in today’s world, you simply can’t ignore online reputation management. Contact a customer research expert at BARE International today for a complimentary evaluation.

‘Shoppers will go into the holiday season with high expectations this year. They’ll want great deals, custom offers, on-time delivery, and a little something for themselves—no matter what channel they’re using to work through their gift list.’ BARE shares an article by Danielle Savin for Digital Commerce 360 on 6 Steps to Elevate the Customer Experience this Holiday Season.

‘To meet shoppers’ rising expectations of easy and engaging shopping experiences, now’s the time to review and prepare your holiday messaging, personalization, mobile optimization, shipping strategy, and self-gifting offers. Follow these simple steps to deliver an engaging and rewarding customer experience during the holidays and beyond.

ALIGN AND TIME YOUR CUSTOMER MESSAGING FOR ALL CHANNELS.

To reach the 45% of shoppers who start making holiday purchases before November 1, you should communicate with your customers early and often. You can engage these early shoppers, as well as last-minute buyers, by promoting your upcoming offers well before Thanksgiving and continuing strong promotions through December and into early January.

Google now recommends that mobile pages load in five seconds or less.

Now’s also the time to check the alignment of your planned holiday messaging across all channels. Proper alignment can increase conversion rates by 200% or more while reducing cost per converted click. Well-aligned multichannel messaging that resonates and follows the customer, based on their behavior can increase “stickiness” and create a more engaging shopping experience. All of your messaging—email, social media, website copy, advertisements, and so on—need to be aligned with active campaigns.

PERSONALIZE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ LIFECYCLE MOMENTS

Personalizing product recommendations can yield more conversions and revenue than a non-personalized shopping experience, but the possibilities go beyond product recommendations. You should plan to personalize against lifecycle moments to reach individual customers at specific touch points along the path to purchase. For example, Customer X may need content to nurture them before they make a purchase, while Customer Y needs an extra incentive to complete end of purchase journey. This approach can amplify the impact of holiday email campaigns, which typically generate higher conversion ratesthan business-as-usual emails.

USE DYNAMIC SEGMENTATION TO BUILD OUT YOUR HOLIDAY MESSAGING

Many retailers have moved away from static segments to third-party tools that support dynamic or conditional segment targets. By setting up dynamic segmentation, which uses continuously updated customer data to automatically assign individual customers to segments based on their behavior, you can reach real-time segments, save resources on manual updates, and scale your segmentation efforts – all of which are advantages during the busy holiday season.

Here’s an example: combine static past purchase data with dynamic data (e.g. more frequent site visits) to build a prospect group that may be especially receptive to specific holiday offers.

FINE-TUNE THE MOBILE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE FOR NEXT YEAR

Holiday-season revenue from mobile increased 22% from 2016 to 2017, half the orders placed on Christmas Day 2017 came from smartphones, and mobile retail is expected to grow by 32% in 2018. Clearly, the convenience of mobile shopping appeals to many consumers, and a smooth mobile experience can increase your holiday traffic and revenue. However, consumers have increasingly high expectations for their mobile shopping experiences, and a poor experience can drive them away for good. Google found that shoppers who have a negative experience on a mobile site are 62% less likely to shop there again, regardless of the quality of the store’s campaigns.

It may be too late to optimize your mobile experience for the 2018 holiday season, but you can start developing your mobile strategy budget and expectations now for 2019. To give your mobile customers the best possible experience and encourage repeat visits, plan to optimize all elements of your shopping funnel, including an intuitive and easy browsing experience, enhanced search capabilities, and a low-friction checkout process. Optimize your product page load times for mobile as well, because customers expect them to load quickly. Google now recommends that mobile pages load in fiveseconds or less, far faster than the 15.3-second average.

REDUCE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SHIPPING STRESS

Your customers are probably worried about their gifts arriving on time. In 2017, 35% of consumers surveyed said package delays were their biggest source of holiday stress, far ahead of money as a stressor. Their concern is well-founded. Major carriers had already fallen behind on deliveries two weeks before Christmas in 2017, and shipping services have struggled to meet demand during the past several holiday seasons, with delivery delays making national headlines.

You can relieve some of your customers’ shipping worries, reduce complaints, and avoid excessive inquiries by over-communicating fulfillment windows to your customers. Display messaging on estimated shipping windows at the point of purchase and in confirmation notices to your customers via email, text, and/or Facebook Messenger.

Another way you can use shipping to enhance customer experience is by offering your customers a menu of expedited delivery options. There’s been a dramatic increase in the number of consumers who opt for same-day delivery,up from 17% in 2017 to 31% this year. By offering same- or next-day fulfillment (as well as reasonably priced or free expedited shipping) you can better compete with Amazon Prime and retailers that offer same-day delivery in selected markets, such as Best Buy, Target, Macy’s and Nordstrom. Same-day shipping options also encourage customer loyalty: 74% of customers surveyed by a national courier service said getting a purchase delivered the same day made them more likely to buy more from that merchant in the future.

ENCOURAGE YOUR CUSTOMERS TO TREAT THEMSELVES

Use your existing customer data, like historical purchases, purchase frequency, and recent site activity, to target self-gifting campaigns to your customers. The trend of self-gifting—consumers spending part of their holiday gift budget on items for themselves—is gaining popularity, especially among younger shoppers. More than seven in 10 shoppers surveyed for the National Retail Foundation’s 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook said they purchased items for themselves during the past holiday season. Popular self-gifting categories include electronics and winter apparel.

These elements—encouraging self-gifting, communication about shipping, improving the mobile experience, and aligning and optimizing messaging—can help you build a successful holiday season roadmap. And because consumer expectations for convenience and clear communication are always rising, continuously refining these elements will benefit your brand over the long-term, and beyond.’

Today, BARE International sets the industry standard as one of the largest independent providers of customer experience research, data, and analytics for companies worldwide. BARE’s customer experience research can provide you with critical data to make meaningful business decisions. Ask us how.

Read the full article at the source here


CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE RESEARCH & INSIGHTS BY BARE INTERNATIONAL

Your business challenges are unique. Our proven success across industry categories stems from asking the right questions to help you address the challenges you face everyday. Each solution we offer is customized to meet your needs, providing actionable feedback to help you make critical business decisions. We treat you the way you want to treat your own customers, providing a dedicated project team to give you the attention you deserve and an infrastructure spanning the globe to provide the resources you need to understand your customers’ experiences.

  • Customized Research Solutions
  • Immediate, Actionable Feedback
  • Dedicated Project Team
  • Family-Owned, Global Capabilities

Get in touch today to receive a complimentary evaluation of your business. We look forward to working with you.

‘Personalized content can now be delivered through whichever touch point the customer prefers.’ BARE shares an article by Dale Renner for Forbes on Transforming the Customer Experience: Personalization.

‘Though the technology has advanced leaps and bounds — even in just the past few years — companies have only begun to crack the surface of personalization capabilities.

Twenty years ago, nearly all companies considered the use of broad segmentation, demographic data and batch outbound marketing as the keys to delivering personalized customer experiences. Ten years ago, Amazon began introducing product personalization into an online experience. Now, as vast amounts of data become readily available to marketers and businesses, they are charging forward to compete on customer experience using personalization on a granular scale not seen before.

In Forrester’s Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer report, only 9% of responding companies indicated they had implemented digital transformation to a degree that they felt gave them an advantage among their competitors.

For companies looking to create a personalized experience regardless of where, when or how a customer chooses to engage, it is essential that they leverage new technology to create an enduring relationship between the brand and the customer.

THE EVOLUTION OF THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY

As technology advances, the customer journey has become more granular. What began as large-scale blanket advertisement has moved toward specific, targeted and strategic advertisement. This trend echoes in other aspects of a brand’s relationship with the customer. Direct mail became more personalized as the content catered to whichever segment profile the customer most closely aligned with; interaction and engagement moved to new mediums as customers embraced smartphone technology.

Personalized content can now be delivered through whichever touch point the customer prefers. However, customer experience still often relies on asynchronous or batch-and-blast communications. Without knowing all that is knowable about a customer and having that knowledge available in real time across the enterprise, the content then merely caters to the segment a customer “belongs” to without knowing if the content is relevant at that point in their customer journey.

Today, we live in a world of instant gratification, and customers’ expectations have mirrored that.

A frictionless customer experience can only be enabled through real-time engagement that spans touch points and multistage journeys.

Using digital channels, mobile apps, social media, SMS and IoT, there are countless ways to build out a completely personalized customer journey for a segment of one.

Companies need to embrace new technologies such as machine learning to keep up with the proliferation of touch points and the explosion of data, and to create a scalable process in which machines detect intention and then seamlessly prescribe the optimal path to purchase for each customer.’

Today, BARE International sets the industry standard as one of the largest independent providers of customer experience research, data, and analytics for companies worldwide. BARE’s customer experience research can provide you with critical data to make meaningful business decisions. Ask us how.

Read the full article at the source here


CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE RESEARCH & INSIGHTS BY BARE INTERNATIONAL

Your business challenges are unique. Our proven success across industry categories stems from asking the right questions to help you address the challenges you face everyday. Each solution we offer is customized to meet your needs, providing actionable feedback to help you make critical business decisions. We treat you the way you want to treat your own customers, providing a dedicated project team to give you the attention you deserve and an infrastructure spanning the globe to provide the resources you need to understand your customers’ experiences.

  • Customized Research Solutions
  • Immediate, Actionable Feedback
  • Dedicated Project Team
  • Family-Owned, Global Capabilities

Get in touch today to receive a complimentary evaluation of your business. We look forward to working with you.

The more technology advances, the more it’s integrated into our daily lives. As people change their behaviors, marketers, salespeople, and customer support reps will need to react. Instead of thinking of a desktop experience, a mobile experience, a tablet experience, we’ll need to pursue one, holistic approach — an omni-channel experience. 

WHAT IS OMNI-CHANNEL?

At its core, omni-channel is defined as a multi-channel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience.

And omni-channel experience? Omni-channel experience is a multi-channel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers in a way that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer reaches out. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be consistently seamless.

OMNI-CHANNEL VS MULTI-CHANNEL

Do you have a multi-channel or an omni-channel customer engagement strategy? Do you know the differences between the two? Let’s start with definitions …

Multi-channel (i.e., “many” channels), while less integrated, allows customers to purchase wherever they prefer to browse and shop.

Companies with this approach are adopting two or more channels to engage their customers, however, they are not necessarily focused on delivering a seamless / consistent message across multiple touch-points. Furthermore, these programs don’t necessarily factor in optimizing the customer experience based on the different devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets and laptops) clients use to interact with the business.

Omni-channel (meaning, “all” channels) unifies sales and marketing to create a single customer experience across your brand.

While companies using this approach also use multiple channels to engage their customers they distinguish themselves through two additional factors; consistency and focus on devices involved within client interactions. These businesses are diligent to ensure that their customers receive the same experience and message through different channels and devices involved within their interactions with the firm. For example, a company that provides customers with the ability to engage it through a mobile app, social media portal and website would be focused to ensure that the look and feel as well as the messages they receive across each touch-point are seamless.

Omni-channel and multi-channel marketing are two unique strategies that both aim to reach consumers and potential consumers by leveraging mult ple channels. Marketers must make the shift to focus on omni-channel efforts in order to increase customer retention and in turn, revenue.

WHAT DOES OMNI-CHANNEL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE LOOK LIKE?

According to My Customer, if a bank customer has a question about a fluctuation in their mortgage rate, which happens to be an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. The customer might call to speak with a live representative. A few years later, when their rate fluctuates again, he or she might call to ask another question. As the customer is calling, the agent will be able to pull up all the details about the customer and their specific situation as well as find out whether the question they asked a few years ago was resolved. Assisting the customer becomes easier for the agent with the context of that customer’s history. Without the omni-channel context, they would have to frustrate the customer with several background questions before being able to resolve their request.

Moreover, the multi-modal capacities inherent to an omni-channel experience enable an agent to text the customer a confirmation and/or a link to further info while the customer is still on the phone. If the customer is late for a meeting and wants to continue the conversation by email, or follow up a few hours later by live chat, that’s also easy. Any agent who continues the engagement will be able to pick up where the previous agents left off in full context, presenting “one face” to the customer—and a surprisingly smart face, at that. Almost like hitting the pause button on a DVR and resuming the program right where you left off.

WHY IS OMNI-CHANNEL SUPERIOR?

Let’s take a look at another great example of a full-fledged omni-channel experience – the Disney app.

Disney’s various customer touchpoints are so interconnected that the user experience never ends. You don’t need to buy a ticket online, show up at the park, and take a gamble on lining up anymore.

Now, you buy a ticket, download the app, scan your Fastpasses, check ride times, and explore customized content before even setting foot in the park.

Once you’re at the park, you can easily navigate your way around, find Disney characters on a live, and interactive map before get your picture taken at the store, have it show up on your app, and purchase when you get home.

The entire experience is a never-ending sensory overload of the Disney brand that contains one critical factor: Consistent, seamless integration. No matter how or where a customer interacts, the shopping experience is the same.

WHY CHOOSE OMNI-CHANNEL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT?

According to Aberdeen Essentials, companies with well-defined omni-channel customer experience management programs achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average, compared to organizations without omni-channel programs. These organizations also average a 3.4% increase in customer lifetime value, while those without omni-channel programs actually diminish customer lifetime value by .7% year-over-year.

Another study by Business Insider found that shoppers who engaged on multiple channels made purchases more often:

FINAL THOUGHTS…

The majority of shoppers now hit multiple touchpoints before making a purchase. Limiting yourself to one or two platforms and lacking the seamless integration you’ve seen here can be detrimental to your long-term growth. In the end, an omni-channel customer experience is the most granular, detailed, and efficient customer experience an organization or representative can provide.

Always look for new outlets and ways to connect each and every channel. Create an experience that isn’t locked into a single platform. Rather, create an experience that can be completed and repeated on each.

Want to know innovative ways to gain insights using an omni-channel strategy? Contact a customer experience research specialist at BARE International today.

Customer service is an integral part of running a successful restaurant. It doesn’t matter how fabulous your new restaurant looks or how delicious the food is, if the service isn’t good, customers are not likely to return.

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