Customer Reviews: Learning from Tourism and Hospitality

Customer reviews are a powerful tool for any business. As the summer holidays approach, the tourism, leisure, and hospitality sectors offer invaluable lessons on harnessing customer feedback. Here, we share six lessons on how these industries excel at gathering and using reviews to enhance their services and boost customer satisfaction.

Table of Contents

  1. Understand the Importance of Customer Reviews
  2. Create a Memorable Customer Experience
  3. Elevate Customer and Employee Experiences
  4. Encourage Guests to Leave Customer Reviews
  5. Leverage Reviews for Marketing
  6. Use Feedback to Improve Services

6 Lessons from the Tourism and Hospitality Sectors

These sectors excel at gathering customer feedback because they focus intensely on their guests. They constantly interact with guests, aiming to provide exceptional experiences. Importantly, they recognise the critical role of their staff in delivering these experiences. By prioritising feedback, they continually improve and adapt to changing needs.

Let’s look at six key lessons from the tourism, leisure, and hospitality sectors on customer reviews to enhance service and satisfaction:

1. Understand the Importance of Customer Reviews

Positive reviews shape a business’s reputation and success. Reviews can make or break a destination’s appeal in tourism, leisure, and hospitality. Prioritise customer feedback to gain insights and make informed decisions.

2. Create Memorable Customer Experiences

To receive positive reviews, focus on creating wow moments. Personalised services, attention to detail, and exceeding expectations are key. The hospitality industry often excels in offering unique experiences that leave a lasting impression on guests.

3. Elevate Customer and Employee Experiences

To truly excel in customer satisfaction, focus equally on employee engagement. Happy, engaged employees are more likely to deliver exceptional service. Invest in regular training, recognise and reward outstanding performance, and create a positive work environment. Read below to learn how we work with Bluestone National Park on its employee survey.

Read our client success story: Bluestone: Elevating Guest and Employee Experiences.

4. Encourage Guests to Leave Customer Reviews

Actively encourage guests to leave reviews. The tourism and hospitality sectors use incentives like discounts or small gifts to motivate customers to generate more positive reviews. Simple reminders during checkout or follow-up emails also work well.

5. Leverage Reviews for Marketing

Use positive reviews as social proof in your marketing. Highlight testimonials on your website, social media, and promotional materials. Sharing reviews builds credibility and attracts new customers. Publish reviews and responses openly to demonstrate transparency.

Customer reviews feedback tip sheet from insight6

6. Use Feedback to Improve Services

Continuous improvement is crucial. Actively seek feedback through customer reviews and mystery shopping to identify areas for improvement. The hospitality industry frequently updates services based on this feedback, ensuring high satisfaction. Implement changes based on the insights gathered to enhance the customer experience consistently.

Conclusion: Customer Reviews

Customer reviews offer a wealth of knowledge that can help businesses enhance their services and customer satisfaction. By learning from the tourism, leisure, and hospitality sectors, you can effectively harness the power of customer feedback. Remember, happy customers lead to positive reviews, which drive business success.

Ready to improve your customer reviews? Contact us today to learn how we can help you gather and leverage feedback to boost your business.


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Customer Feedback: Boosting Sales with Social Proof Strategies

Customer Feedback Social Proof

It takes work to stand out, but customer feedback can help. With abundant options available, customers often turn to the experiences of others to guide their decisions. Social proof is a powerful tool that can sway consumer behaviour in your favour.

In this post, we’ll explore social proof, how to get it, and how to use it to win more business. By leveraging customer feedback effectively, you can boost sales and build trust with your audience. Let’s start and discover strategies for harnessing the power of social proof.

Table of contents:

What is social proof, and how can it be obtained?

Social proof is the idea of copying others’ actions to make decisions. Robert Cialdini first coined the term in his 1984 book Influence.

Essentially, social proof is customer feedback shared publicly. In marketing, social proof includes customer reviews, recommendations, and media coverage, which influence purchasing behaviours.

Do you know what people are saying about your business? Fear of negative reviews can hold you back. At insight6, we see feedback as valuable data, not judgment. We’re here to guide you.

Understanding customer feedback is crucial. It’s not just about collecting reviews but using them to improve and grow your business. Let’s explore why customer feedback is so important.

Why is customer feedback important?

Customer feedback is essential for making informed decisions and improving your business. It helps you understand what works, what doesn’t, and where to focus your efforts for maximum impact.

Six reasons why customer feedback is crucial:

  1. Improves products and services: Feedback highlights areas for enhancement.
  2. Measures customer satisfaction: Understand how happy your customers are.
  3. Empowers business decisions: Data-driven insights lead to better strategies.
  4. Builds loyalty: Shows customers you listen and care.
  5. Creates better experiences: Use feedback to tailor interactions.
  6. Increases staff satisfaction: Recognise and reward good behaviour.

The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 83% of consumers recommend a brand they follow on social media to friends and family.
  • 72% of customers use Google reviews to find businesses.
  • Star rating matters more to shoppers than the number of reviews.
  • 34% of shoppers say they always read online reviews
  • Businesses with 200+ reviews generate twice as much revenue.

Proactively seeking feedback is crucial in developing organic, cheerful customer reviews online. Continuous feedback lets you monitor your business performance and understand real-time customer sentiments. Tools like our instant insight feedback solution offer the quickest and most efficient way to spot any blips in your customer experience.

Customer feedback and satisfaction

Customer satisfaction measures how well an organisation meets or exceeds customer expectations. It’s the outcome of either a good or bad experience.

Studies show that 81% of consumers repeat purchases after a positive experience. However, 61% of customers would switch to a new brand after just one bad experience.

Customer feedback and retention statistics

Positive feedback can affirm what you’re doing right, while negative feedback highlights areas for improvement. Listening to and acting on this feedback is crucial for maintaining high satisfaction levels and continuously enhancing the customer experience.

Creating ‘WOW’ moments will take your customer experience (CX) to the next level. Check out our Blog on creating ‘WOW’ moments to learn how to elevate your customer interactions to leave a lasting impact.

Companies focusing on solid customer experiences report a 75% higher retention rate. Additionally, loyal customers recommend brands to friends and family, with 66% writing positive reviews after a good experience.

Generating positive reviews should be a crucial part of your marketing strategy. Let’s explore how to use social proof in marketing next.

How to use social proof in marketing

Incorporating social proof into your marketing strategy can significantly boost your business. Here are some effective methods:

  • Testimonials and Reviews: Display positive customer feedback on your website and social media.
  • Customer and Client Case Studies: Highlight success stories that showcase your impact.
  • Showcasing Logos of Existing Clients: Display logos from well-known clients or customers to build credibility.
  • Awards and Accolades: Promote any industry awards or recognitions you’ve received.
  • User-Generated Content (UGC): Encourage customers to share their experiences with your products or services.
  • Expert and Influencer Endorsements: Leverage these figures’ trust and authority to influence potential client and customer decisions.

Where to collect customer feedback

Gathering customer feedback is crucial for enhancing your business. Here are some key points in the customer journey and effective methods to collect feedback:

Why They Came to You: Ask customers what drew them to your business. This insight helps you understand your strengths and what attracts customers.

Check-In After Key Moments: Collect feedback after critical customer journey stages like sign-up, onboarding, purchases, and departures. This timing ensures you capture relevant experiences.

Ask for Reviews: Encourage customers to leave reviews online. Positive reviews boost your reputation, while negative ones offer insights for improvement.

Request Case Studies: Contact satisfied customers for detailed case studies. These stories showcase your success and build credibility.

Surveys and Questionnaires: Use these tools regularly to gather broad insights, tailoring them to specific touchpoints in the customer journey.

Follow-Up Calls or Emails: Personal follow-ups show you value their opinion and can provide deeper insights than automated surveys.

Focus Groups: Organise focus groups to gather detailed feedback on specific topics. This method provides in-depth insights and allows for interactive discussions.

These strategies can help you gather comprehensive feedback to drive improvements and enhance customer satisfaction. At insight6, our tailored solutions ensure you get timely feedback to boost your business.

Want more customer reviews? Tips to get going!

As CX specialists, we believe the customer experience is everything. Moreover, positive reviews are essential for boosting loyalty and profits. To start, read our essential guide on  ‘How to Generate Positive Customer Reviews Online’.

At insight6, we have a cutting-edge feedback system supported by local experts. We ensure you get the right survey to the right customer base the first time, every time, with exceptional reply rates. No more seeking answers online—get instant local support over the phone.

Using instant insight will:

  • Gather and analyse feedback.
  • Gain real-time insights.
  • Increase positive online reviews.
  • Publish to public review sites
  • Improve your products and services.
  • Benchmark against competitors.

WATCH: See how instant insight will help you to generate more positive customer reviews.

Conclusion: Harness the Power of Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is more than just reviews—it’s a powerful tool for improving customer experiences and boosting business success. Integrating social proof into your marketing strategy can enhance trust, drive sales, and build lasting customer relationships.

Partnering with insight6 gives you access to cutting-edge feedback systems and local expertise, ensuring you gather the right insights at the right time. Ready to transform your customer experience? Contact insight6 to boost your reviews, increase satisfaction, and drive growth. Request your free instant insight demo or CX consultation today!


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How to Turn Customer Feedback into Actionable Insights 

Introduction: 

Most of us understand the importance of delivering exceptional customer experiences to drive loyalty, repeat business, and growth. But have you considered the impact of a poor customer experience? Do you know how your customers feel about your products and services? Asking for and acting on regular customer feedback is critical to business success. Why? So, you can improve customer satisfaction, build loyalty, and ultimately boost your bottom line! Here, we explore how to turn customer feedback into actionable insights. 

 

Table of contents

Why is customer feedback critical for business success? 

Understanding your customers' needs and preferences is important in today's competitive landscape. Customer feedback gives valuable insights into their experiences, expectations, and pain points. It helps you find areas for improvement, make informed business decisions, and stay ahead of the competition.  

Consider this: 84% of customers say their expectations are unmet and 76% would stop doing business with a company after just one bad experience. By actively looking for and listening to customer feedback, you can address these issues proactively and ensure a robust customer experience strategy. One that works as a powerful tool to drive business success.   

What are the benefits of collecting and acting on customer feedback? 

Collecting and utilising customer feedback in the right way offers many benefits to your business. For example:  

  1. Customer satisfaction and loyalty: When customers feel heard and see their feedback being acted upon, it enhances their experience and instils trust. According to research, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
  2.  Differentiation and Competitive Advantage: By consistently improving your products and services based on customer feedback, you can differentiate yourself from competitors and position your business as customer centric.
     
  3. Profitability: Increasing customer retention rates by 5% can boost profits up to 95%. By actively seeking feedback and improving customer experiences, you can drive profitability and long-term business success. 

When to ask customers for feedback and how to collect it 

You need to find the right tools and channels to ask for customer feedback. Here are some key considerations: 

  • Timing: Request feedback at various touchpoints throughout the customer journey, such as after a purchase, support interaction, or service completion. Ensuring that feedback is fresh, exact and detailed is critical.
     
  • Methods: There are several ways customer feedback can be collected, including surveys, feedback forms, and online reviews. Customer Experience Reviews, more commonly known as Mystery Shopping, is one of the best ways to test the service a company provides through the eyes of its customers or clients.
     
  • Incentives: Offer incentives, such as discounts, exclusive content, or rewards, to encourage customers to give feedback. This can increase response rates and show appreciation for their time and input. 

Remember, the easier and more accessible you make the feedback process, the more likely customers are to take part and supply valuable insights. With insight6 customer experience solutions, you can gather in-depth information on how your customers feel about your services, products and company overall.
 

How can asking for customer feedback build customer loyalty? 
 
Asking for customer feedback shows you value your customer’s opinions and are committed to offering an exceptional experience. Meanwhile, acting on customer feedback builds trust and strengthens the customer-business relationship, increasing loyalty. Customers feel a sense of ownership When they see their suggestions and concerns being addressed. They are likely become brand advocates, recommending your business to others and continuing their patronage. 

Why is it important to address negative customer feedback? 

Negative customer feedback is an opportunity for improvement. Instead of ignoring or dismissing negative comments, embrace them as valuable insights.  

Addressing negative feedback promptly and effectively shows your commitment to resolving issues and improving the customer experience. It allows you to turn dissatisfied customers into brand advocates and loyal, repeat customers. Remember, a positive review shows a fantastic customer experience. You can read our insights on how to generate more positive customer reviews online.
 

Best practice: strategies to improve your response rates.  

To improve prove your response rates and gather more comprehensive feedback, consider the following strategies: 

 

  1. Keep it concise: Keep your surveys or feedback requests concise and focused. Customers are more likely to take part if the process is quick and straightforward.
     
  2. Personalise your approach: Use personalised messages when requesting feedback. Address customers by name and highlight how their input will contribute to improving their experience.
     
  3. Follow up and show appreciation: Thank customers for their feedback and let them know how it will be used to enhance their experience. Follow up on their suggestions or concerns and inform them of any actions taken.
     
  4. Engage through multiple channels: Reach customers through various channels, such as email, social media, or in-app notifications. Make it convenient for them to give feedback in their preferred way. 

 

Ultimately, enhancing the customer experience and gathering regular customer feedback is critical to building loyalty and driving profitability. High customer satisfaction guarantees loyalty and makes you stand out from the competition. It also lets you prevent customer churn and negative word of mouth. 

insight6, as a partner to hundreds of businesses and organisations across multiple sectors, focuses on elevating the customer experience to win new business, improve customer satisfaction, build loyalty, and boost profitability. Our comprehensive feedback solution, instant insight, enables companies to regularly analyse feedback from customers and employees, gaining valuable insights for informed decision-making and positively changing the customer and employee experience. 

 

Using instant insight will:
 

✓ Help you gain customer feedback.  

✓ Allow you to gain employee feedback.  

✓ Analyse/report on real-time feedback.  

✓ Obtain actionable comments.  

✓ Improve your products and services. 

✓ Benchmark against your competitors.  

✓ Increase positive online reviews. 

Today we are the largest customer experience (CX) consultancy in the United Kingdom with a network of 25+ local CX specialists covering every region. Our national reach means you have access to a customer experience director in your local area. What is more, each director brings an invaluable mix of business experience and CX knowledge to support your team — whether large or small — in making the necessary operational changes to enhance your customer experience. 

Understanding how your customers feel about your products and services will improve satisfaction, encouraging advocacy and repeat business. You work hard and spend money to find and attract new customers. Do not let the cost of unsatisfied customers affect your reputation and bottom line.  

Get in touch today for a no-obligation chat or request a demo to see how instant insight can transform your business.  

Like what you have read? Sign up to the insight6 newsletter to keep up to date with everything you need to know to improve your customer experience. 

How to generate positive customer reviews online

When we talk about positive customer reviews, we are talking about a positive customer experience or CX. People trust online reviews so they should be part of your marketing strategy.

If you want to compete online then customer reviews are essential. Positive customer reviews are the end goal, but negative feedback also provides an opportunity for improvement.

We believe customer experience is everything and that positive reviews are important for businesses looking to increase loyalty and profits. So, here we share our insights and advice on how you can generate more positive customer reviews online.

Why do I need customer feedback for my business? 

The more feedback you receive, the more confident you will be in making great decisions for your business. Insights will enable you to improve the customer experience and ultimately your profits.

Here are six reasons why customer feedback is important in business:

  1. Customer feedback helps improve products and services.
  2. Customer feedback enables you to measure customer satisfaction.
  3. Customer feedback provides data to empower business decisions.
  4. Customer feedback builds loyalty by showing customers you listen and care.
  5. Customer feedback can create better customer experiences.
  6. Customer feedback can increase staff satisfaction by rewarding good behaviour.

However, customer reviews, particularly online reviews, can be a divisive topic amongst business owners. 

People fall into one of two camps, either 'too nervous to ask', fearful of any negative comments, or the 'I know best', dismissive of any feedback that doesn't align to their thinking. Neither set a helpful foundation for achieving positive customer reviews.

Research shows 80% of companies say they deliver 'superior' customer service while only 8% of customers thought the same about those companies - how would your customers rate your brand?

The holy grail is a business leader who understands the importance of genuine customer feedback, is accepting of the feedback, and is prepared to alter or improve certain aspects of the business to enhance the overall customer experience. 

Essentially, you can't fix what you don't know is broken. 

How important are customer reviews to a business? 

Reviews not only have the power to influence consumer decisions but can strengthen a company's credibility. Reviews have the power to gain customer trust, and they encourage people to engage with the company. Engagement ultimately leads to improved profits for businesses.

  • 91% of 18-34-year old's trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 
  • 93% of customers have been influenced to make a purchase by an online review.
  • 4 out of 5 customers have changed their mind on a purchase after reading a negative review.

Love them or loathe them, these are the facts that sit behind purchasing behaviour today, and if you don't have positive online reviews, you are at a disadvantage to a competitor who does. (Source: Qualtrics October 2020).

Six-steps to generating positive customer reviews

As the UK's largest customer experience consultancy in the UK, insight6 Specialists have worked with hundreds of businesses to improve their CX. So, we have put together a six-step method to help you generate more positive customer reviews for your business.

  • Map and test your customer journey 

It's crucial to walk in your customer's shoes - and regularly map your customer journey - to see what they see and experience the customer journey as they do. 

Mapping your customer journey will give you first-hand knowledge of any glitches in your processes, where you really add value, and where you may need to make improvements or streamline. 

  • CX culture must be instilled from the top 

The phrase 'a fish rots from the head down' is true when it comes to CX. You must set the tone for the culture and deliver the experience you expect your employees to replicate. A good leader is prepared to ask the questions they may not like the answers to.

In fact, your employees are your biggest customer group. 

To enable your employees to deliver a great experience to your customers, you need to deliver a great experience to them to ensure that they remain motivated and engaged. Do you know the one simple (but essential) thing leaders can do to improve employee engagement?

How many negative reviews do you think could result from a disgruntled employee? Mentoring and coaching for leaders can really improve the CX internally and result in better customer reviews.  

  • Have a robust resolution plan 

Every business is going to come up against issues from time to time. The skill is turning a negative aspect into an overall positive experience. 

You need to be able to see your business through the eyes of the customer. Make sure that you have mapped your customer journey and know exactly where all the potential pitfalls lie. 

Once you have identified potential gaps in the customer journey you can begin to put robust resolution plans in place for each scenario, enabling your employees to help rectify the issue for the customer as quickly and painlessly as possible - delivering an overall good experience.

  • CX Reviews (mystery shoppers)

Forget the cliché 'mystery shopper' of the 90's retail world. A detailed CX Review should report everything, from the number of times a phone rang before answering to how many days it took to receive a follow-up call or email and specific questions you may want answers to. 

You need a level of analysis that provides you with actionable insights, allowing you to identify and address any potential issues that could generate negative reviews.

At insight6 our CX Reviewers are highly skilled and trained research professionals - regarded as the best in the world. Yes, our team will check if your staff are polite and friendly, but they delve much deeper into your business to test your entire customer journey, from how you deal with initial enquiries to delivery of services, aftercare and more. Each CX Review is designed individually to suit every business. 

  • Customer feedback

Asking for feedback proactively forms part of the strategy to developing organic positive customer reviews online. 

Continuous customer feedback enables you to monitor how your business is performing and how customers feel about you - depending on the type of feedback tool you use; this can even be done in real-time. Instant online feedback tools such as our instant insight solution is the quickest and most efficient way to spot any blips in your customer experience.

More detailed customer feedback should be undertaken periodically to delve deeper into any themes that come up in your rolling feedback - this is generally better done as a focus or listening group - to fully understand the customer viewpoint. 

  • Training and development 

One of the most common and frustrating mistakes we see is businesses collecting customer feedback but failing to do anything with it. This is where it really helps to work with a CX specialist. 

You need to analyse all the data from your customer feedback, mystery shops, and customer journey map and identify where your business or team would benefit from specialist training or development.  

insight6 Specialists take this data and design bespoke training and development workshops for their team that have a positive impact on customer reviews. 

How to decide which online review sites are the best

Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Trustpilot? There is no simple answer.

Firstly, it depends on your objectives behind the reviews. Are you looking for detailed feedback to really understand how your customers are feeling about your business so that you can continuously improve? Or are you looking to use online reviews as a promotional tool to increase business? 

With so many online outlets for customers to leave reviews, what works best for your business will very much depend on your target customer, what media they consume and what channels they use. It's also worth remembering that many customer reviews are never made public, and in many cases, these can be the most powerful and valuable reviews to a business. 

How to maximise the value of customer feedback

Online customer reviews are great for building trust, proving credibility and increasing sales but they offer so much more to a business if collected and analysed correctly. 

At insight6 we work with our clients to fully understand the objectives and target market when designing a feedback system.  If feedback is not requested appropriately, it is a wasted opportunity at best; at worst, it can create a negative experience and become counterproductive.

With our instant insight solution, we can help you analyse the feedback from your customers (or team members) at a much deeper level than self-service alternatives, enabling you to benchmark different criteria over time but also against competitors in your sector. 

Where a business will really see the benefits of a tailored feedback system is in the front-end design. Our CX Directors work with clients to pinpoint the correct questions to ask, in the right tone of voice and the correct time to request feedback. 

Are you looking to increase online customer reviews to drive traffic or sales to your business? In that case, our instant insight solution is a great way to capture quick and simple feedback or reviews from your customers with the option to automatically post to a whole host of public review platforms such as Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and Trustpilot, Trip Advisor and many more.

How to manage negative online reviews

Don't be afraid of the odd negative review. Nobody is perfect 100% of the time, and customers would be suspicious of any business that had a perfect 5* record - fake reviews are bad for business.

If you have mapped and regularly tested your customer journey, you're happy with the motivation and culture of your team, and you are regularly seeking and monitoring customer feedback, then you can be confident that it's an anomaly. The key is how you handle it.

Remember, customers aren't always right, but it's your job is to make them feel that they are! Acknowledge and thank them for their feedback, apologise for the issue and assure them that it will be investigated and if the issue remains, it will be rectified. 

Serial complainers will always do what they do best, but, if your business is generally delivering a great customer experience, you can usually rely on your customers to defend and call out a rogue review - and this is worth its weight in gold.  

Ultimately, improving your customer experience is the surest way to retain loyalty, reduce cost and increase profits. And it's easier than you might think. 

The very act of asking customers for feedback has been shown to increase customer loyalty three-fold whilst also making them more profitable customers. 

At insight6, our unique and tailored solutions allow businesses to transform their customer experience cost-effectively, from end to end, with the dedicated support of a local expert. To find your local CX Specialist and discover how we can transform your customer experience, call +44 (0) 800 970 8987 or visit www.insight6.com.

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Why Customer Experience (CX) monitoring should be at the top of every Franchisor’s to do list in January

CX is arguably the biggest differentiator, or battleground, between businesses right now. Every business needs a well-considered and executed customer experience strategy, to deliver more business, repeat business and a positive brand reputation. But when it comes to the franchise sector, it’s vital to not only implement, but continuously monitor your CX strategy. 

You’re only as successful as your weakest performing franchisee

By the very nature of a franchised business model, you, the franchisor, are one step removed from delivering your brand to the end customer. That can have negative consequences for your whole company if poor CX goes undetected.  

By measuring the CX that your franchisees are delivering on a monthly basis, you not only get a real time picture of how the brand is being received overall, but also an indication of any potential problems within your network. 

At the very worst end of the scale, you could uncover a franchisee treating customers terribly – if they hadn’t already made a complaint – but generally, you could discover things customers may not have noticed, but weaken the experience that you had designed. For example, missed processes, failing to follow up or a lack of personalisation may need addressing individually, or across your network.

CX monitoring isn’t about franchisee bashing

The very opposite in fact. It’s about assessing what works well and uncovering new ideas that can be shared across the network. Because the most successful franchises are the ones that operate in an open, honest, collaborative, and supportive way – and you get this through monitoring and feedback. 

Putting CX at the heart of the business and measuring against KPI’s should always have positive intentions. Yes, it can create a bit of competitive spirit amongst franchisees, but it should also create positive conversations where someone may seek out help or advice. 

Franchised businesses must take a 360 degree approach to monitoring CX.

CX in the traditional sense (franchisee to end customer), is only one element at play here. A franchise network also needs to monitor the experience a franchisee receives from other franchisees and from the franchisor. 

For your franchisees to deliver a superior customer experience, they must receive the right tools, information, and support – and it must be delivered in a way that works for them, not you. By asking for regular feedback from your network you can quickly get a better understanding of where you may need to provide extra resources or training, or where you may need to improve your communication style or timings. 

It’s not just a tick-box exercise.

Once you’ve monitored it’s vital that you do something with the results. Too many times we see businesses collect insight and then don’t take any action to improve the experience and the scores before they repeat the same research 12 months later. 

Monitoring every 12 or six months is also not good enough, you need to be monitoring on a monthly basis to get the best impetus and improvement. This helps improve the CX culture.

Ultimately, knowledge is power. 

If you as the franchisor understand the quality of service that is being delivered by your franchisees, you have the ability to make changes. If you are giving your franchisees the opportunity to give you feedback on the quality of service they are receiving, you are able to make changes. It fosters a transparent working relationship that results in a better experience for all.  

 

Jonathan Winchester is a customer experience entrepreneur, franchisor, speaker and business leader. He is the Founder and Chief Executive of insight6. insight6 is a franchise. For more information on how to improve your customer experience, visit www.insight6.com. Request to connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn.

The Rise Of The Review

When I book a holiday, I have a process I routinely follow. I choose several hotels or destinations based on my budget and the facilities I require, I narrow the list down to two or three possibilities and then I go to TripAdvisor, or a similar review engine, to read up on the reviews.

No, it’s not always 100% accurate and there are many variable factors, not the least of which is the objectivity or subjectivity of the author. However, it is fair to say that if the reviews are all generally positive, my chosen option would be a safe choice. Not only do the reviews provide me with a general insight into the quality of the hotel, they also often offer tips. For example, ‘the ground floor can be noisier’ or ‘it is a long walk to the beach which may not be suitable for buggies’, etc.

Research shows I’m not alone. More than 50% of people research their chosen destination online using a review platform before they go ahead and commit. This has significant implications for the hospitality/tourism industry as they navigate the new territory of savvy, digitally-connected consumers with high expectations. Whether it’s TripAdvisor, TrustPilot, Yelp, Amazon, Facebook, checkatrade.com or any of the more industry specific review websites, reviews matter.

 

 

Last week my neighbour informed me of her ongoing drama with Everest windows. As busy professionals, both her and her husband decided to choose Everest Windows based on their reputation and their logo ‘Fit The Best’. Completely aware that this company was known to be more expensive than its competitors, they happily parted with their deposit as they ‘had no time to rectify issues or mistakes that might arise with cheaper companies’.

In fact, the installation dates were delayed, the wrong colour windows were installed and the brickwork above one of the windows sagged with gaping open spaces between the courses.

After hours spent on the telephone and emailing the customer services and complaints department, my neighbour was unable to elicit a response or any semblance of responsibility. Driven to desperation she wrote a scathing review on TrustPilot. Within 20 minutes she received a phone call and was assigned a manager to review and redress her case. The power of social media is frighteningly real. And whilst Everest may be failing on the customer service and product front, at least they are aware of the power of review websites and social media and clearly have a response plan in place!

Your reputation is your success (or not!). Whether it’s a service or a product you are offering, there will be a series of written reviews out there in google world (other search engines are available…) and within a few clicks your potential customer will have a plethora of information about you. It may not always be 100% accurate but general patterns can usually be determined and decisions made in a matter of seconds.

What are you doing to protect your reputation? Three simple steps can mean you remain a popular choice for the sofa surfers who would never think of making a purchase without reading reviews.

  1. Stay connected. If you are a digital dinosaur you may be hindering your own business success. Read your own business reviews regularly and set up alerts if your name is mentioned on social media.
  2. Be responsive. Respond immediately to any negative review with a promise to contact that customer directly. Do not write a very defensive rant in which you moan, complain or criticise the complainant (example below)
  3. Ask your customers if they would mind writing a review for you if they are happy with your service. The more positive reviews about you, the more likely that ‘potential customer’ will become an actual customer.

 

 

Using Text Messaging To Capture Your Customer’s Loyalty

It is estimated that millennials now send between 60 and 85 text messages per day. That’s a lot of texting and a lot of time spent looking at a very small screen!

According to their article of August 2015 ‘The UK Is Now A Smartphone Society’,

OFCOM says the UK is now clearly addicted to the smart phone.  Statistics tell us the mobile phone has overtaken the laptop as internet users’ number one device.

There isn’t much we can’t do on the smartphone these days. Several years ago it was quicker and more reliable to surf the internet and make our purchases on our PCs or laptops, or even tablets. But superfast 4G is helping us to do our shopping, banking, booking and buying all on our pocket sized hand-held devices quickly and easily. The average person now spends approximately two hours online on a smartphone every day. If you can spot a teenager without a mobile phone on his/her person, it’s likely they are on a ‘digital detox’ or from another planet!

90% of SMSs  are read within the first 3 seconds and SMS has a final read rate of 98%. MOST text messages are read. In comparison, only 20% of emails are read and 12% of Facebook posts are read. It is glaringly obvious that if you want your message to be read, a text is the way to go.

Mobile Phone

So if your customers are now mobile savvy, are you? Or are you still producing A4 size newsletters to pile up near your exit in the hope that your customer will collect one on the way out?

If done properly, SMS campaigns can build a strong and positive relationship with your customer base. But there are some factors to consider when preparing a campaign which involves texting.  Whilst texting can have extremely positive and immediate results, there is always the risk of your customers becoming frustrated with your service or disengaging themselves from your brand.

Texting is a direct, usually two-way conversation and, unlike emails, is considered a far more personal method of communicating. There are certain ‘codes of courtesy’ that must be considered before you text.

Ten Top Tips For Creating A Successful SMS Customer Campaign

1.     Capture your customer’s mobile number.

This could be on a membership or loyalty scheme, otherwise run a competition or raffle.

2.     ASK permission.

Always ask the question ‘may we contact you by phone’, however you choose to word it.

3.     Ensure your SMS has an opt-out option.

Make it simple and obvious for a person to stop receiving SMS communications from your business.

4.     Have clear campaign goals.

Ensure you have clear and tangible goals. Don’t confuse or muddle your customers with multiple offers or vague promises. Be brief, clear and direct.

5.     Text only occasionally and when you want a really good response.

Shout about immediate and relevant campaigns or promotions.

6.     Start slow and leverage incentives.

Our mobile device is one of the most personal devices we have. The customers that welcome you into their phone are probably some of your most loyal customers. Therefore, it’s important to treat your most loyal customers with some extra love. So incentivise your customers to opt-in, stay in or come in to your premises by giving something of value; a 10% off voucher or free coffee. Sometimes it’s the little things that matter the most and the small incentives often create a much bigger spend overall.

7.     Use an efficient automated text service and schedule or plan your campaigns from your PC.

There are many SMS automated systems and platforms available. Choose carefully.

8.     Make your texts useful or beneficial to your customer; don’t just SELL.

Ensure that at least half of your texts contain information that may be useful to your customers in some way. This might just be a link to a recipe or game or blog on your website or advice or perhaps a tip relevant to the season. Then, when you do text with an offer or an invitation to buy you won’t be reaching tired, disenfranchised eyes who will simply glance then divert.

9.     Have a clear Call To Action

One of the most common reasons SMS campaigns fail is because the call-to-action isn’t presented in a way that the customer recognises or understands what to do.

10.  Measure your campaign results.

Be sure to clearly measure your subscriber growth, opt-out rate and offer redemption rates.

If you haven’t started looking for ways to add SMS text message marketing to your marketing mix, it is certainly time you took a close look.

The mobile channel is certainly the channel that offers the widest possible reach and the incredibly high read rate of text messages means this a method of communication you can’t afford to ignore.

Feedback : Do you ask the right questions at the right time?

I am always stunned at how poor businesses are at asking their customers the right questions.  Let me give you some recent examples:

  1. I recently was late on an EasyJet flight and I received a questionnaire entitled “We are sorry you got diverted.” I did not get diverted, it was late. Did I respond? No.
  2. A BA questionnaire about my recent web experience when I had actually spoken to a team member over the phone
  3. A large hotel group’s questionnaire that was so long the final third was all answered “Yes” just to get through it.

In each scenario the data is corrupt. The findings are useless and these businesses who invest large sums on research are making decisions based on fantasy.

I became even more disillusioned when I visit a lovely independent hotel. Let me explain.

I was due to speak at a conference and always try to stay in an independent hotel.  It was clear the hotel was really developing. They were adding new rooms, renovated the dining room, and adding the small touches that can make a real difference. However, there were things that were not quite right, for example…

In the bedroom:

  • The wi-fi did not work with ease
  • The iron flex was worn and could be dangerous
  • It was hard to open the bar fridge in the bedroom
  • I got soaked when I turned the bath on, as the setting was set on the hand help showerhead!
  • The TV in the bathroom had a flaky picture

At meal time:

  • My lamb at dinner was overcooked
  • The grapefruit at breakfast was off

My Opportunity

When I went to the checkout I thought this was the opportunity to tell the team all the things that could be improved.  My first impression was that it was clear the staff member was hassled. Customers checking out and phones were ringing.

The staff member with a quick glance asked “Was everything alright?” in a manner that “Yes” had to be the only answer!

So reluctantly, while going through the list in my mind I stated, “Yes fine thanks.” The staff member then told me the amount I owed.

Despite all the small wrong things, I quite liked this hotel and possibly when the changes had been made would try it again. So how sad it was not to give the customer the right conditions to gain an insight that could have a larger financial impact than new bedrooms and renovated dining rooms.

So what are the magic questions?

Well, the first thing is to allow your staff to have the right conditions to ask for feedback. So in this case, they either needed an extra staff member, a diverted phone or a different process for checking out.

And then there are the two magic questions…

  1. Was the best thing about your stay?
  1. What three things would you improve if it was your hotel?=

The consequence of these questions prove the staff are listening and they are going to the get the information they need to ensure the hotel can more easily pay for their renovations.

So if you gather feedback or are about to embark on this journey make sure the questions marry up the the customer’s actual experience and then ensure the right questions are asked, to give the best possibly chance to deliver a world class experience every time.

Do you share my frustration?  Please tell us in the comments below…..

 

What Would I Say About Your Business?

What Would I Say About Your Business?

It is so easy to get bogged down in the ‘to do’ lists or action plans of every-day business. The more you do, it seems, the more there is to do. You decide to ‘just check your emails’ and before you know it, mid-morning coffee is calling. LinkedIn and Twitter should take up 20 minutes max and yet three hours later you’re still deciding whether to comment on that Pulse article about time management?! Is there anyone out there who actually ticks off ALL of their tasks each day?

If you’re serious about your business success, there is one ‘must do monthly’ strategy that is often overlooked. It was in favor several years ago, has been renamed and updated more times than Google can remember but often slips down the priority list of most managers I know. It is, of course, the business health check. I’m sticking with the health analogy because the identical thing happens in our personal lives. What is the single most important thing in your life? (Yes, I hear you say, your partner, your children, your financial security, your Audi R8……..) but there is only one right answer really; your health. Ignore it and you may be dead. Ignore the health of your business and your business may be dead. So what would I (or anyone who doesn’t know your business) say about your business?

Morning Coffee Challenge

Ask five different team members around you right now to each give you three words that sum up your business. Do it now. Grab a pen and make (another) list. Which words appear on your list? Save this for later.

Whether you’re a startup business or have been running for years, the business health check is one simple procedure that astute business leaders will never leave off their to do list. Even the ‘work ON your business and not IN your business’ disciples need to be reminded to take time to review business strategy. There are any number of online diagnostic tools and tips and you could pay a fortune for a professionally presented audit and report. But an accurate picture of your current business position doesn’t have to involve equations, formulas and questionnaires.

Regardless of the nature of your business, if you’re not doing a quick health check every month, you’re not driving your business where it should or could be. Highlighting areas of strengths and weaknesses and being objective about your business is paramount to staying relevant, current and successful.

The five main themes that any business leader needs to look at, whatever business are:

  • First impressions: if it be phone, web or visual, what are you telling your customer about your business before they even start to think about engaging with you?
  • It all starts at the top: the leader will determine the tone and culture of the business, so look in the mirror. Do you recognise that your team are your number one customer? If you love them, they are more likely to love the customers that pay your bills.
  • Feedback: Are you getting enough feedback? How will you know what your customers really think of you? Is feedback measurement an integral part of your monthly reporting alongside your P and L?
  • The service vision: Feedback can tell you how you are performing now but what do customers want in the future? What is their utopia? Innovation becomes more challenging as our business and social communication channels rapidly expand, but staying ahead of the field is where your customers will expect you to be.
  • Finally KISS. Keep your customer relationships simple. Too many businesses make the process of communication too complicated. We have all had the recorded messages and hours on hold with major corporations. We have all received mixed messages and poor communication from our local suppliers. Can your customers find you and speak to you when they need to?

So take a look at the list of 15 or so words that you have on your desk right now from your Morning Coffee Challenge. These 15 words sum up your business from an internal perspective. Hopefully they are positive and professional. Now ask an external team, perhaps some existing or potential customers or a customer feedback professional (we have the tools at the ready!) and when you have your feedback compare the two lists.

Probably only one in ten of you will find the words are similar. How big is the mismatch? And how honest do you want to be with yourself, your team and your business vision. What would the customer say about your business? If you don’t ask, how can you ever truly know.