Going That Extra Step: Creating Differentiated Customer Experiences

Those of us who travel for business or pleasure most often receive customer surveys after our hotel stay, and some of us complete them.  We receive the automated “thank you for your input” note at the end of the survey and then our feedback goes into the black hole of survey data, seemingly never to see the light of day or be acted upon.

I am actually a big believer in customer surveys, even if they often end up in black holes – after all, how is anyone ever going to improve if they don’t know what needs to change?  I recently was in New York City for business and stayed at a lovely and unique high-end property.  When I returned home, I received and completed my survey, where I provided rankings and also direct feedback on two aspects of my stay that I felt could have been stronger.  I hit send and away it went.

The next morning, I received a note from the Director of Front Office Operations, thanking me for my patronage and for completing the survey.  He also addressed the two areas that I had pointed out, and told me that they were looking into both of them, including going so far as to examine video tape of my arrival so they could determine why there had been no front door team present.

I was so pleasantly surprised.  I have never received any sort of follow up note to a survey and I am impressed at the lengths to which they went to see where the breakdown had occurred.  This sort of follow up set them apart from so many others.  It also made me want to be an advocate for their property and brand; they took the time to respond to a situation that was not the ideal, and in doing so created an experience that left me feeling satisfied and well looked after.  I would certainly return to their property and would recommend them to anyone looking for a hotel for business or pleasure.

Customer survey feedback may not always be 10 out of 10, but businesses that take the time to respond, show concern, and demonstrate steps they are taking to resolve issues, create differentiated customer experiences and may even gain fans and advocates in doing so.

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