In May I read the 2017 Qualtrics Hotel Pain Index Study, made some notes, and had every intention of writing a June blog post in response to the study. In my defense, that was about the time that summer break began for our four children. So, without further ado…
The three areas of the study that stood out to me are:
- 57% of guests said that unfriendly employees were most likely to cause them to have a negative experience at a hotel.
- 82% of guests question the value for price paid, thinking they overpaid for their stay at least sometimes.
- 35% of guests think hotels are lacking effort when it comes to providing a great guest experience.
How is it possible that a majority of hotel guests surveyed cited unfriendly employees as the most likely cause of a negative experience? Certainly managers don’t invite headaches by knowingly hiring unfriendly job applicants to represent the brand. Could they be unwittingly filling open positions with unfriendly job applicants? Or, worse, are they willfully relaxing selection criteria (standards) in order to fill positions, close job requisitions, and move onto other priorities?
If the cause is the former, and unfriendly employees are slipping through the hiring process, then the hiring process is flawed. Utilizing predictive software and behavior interview techniques results in fewer hiring mistakes. Organizations that choose to cut corners in this area and rely on ill-equipped hiring personnel to select and onboard those who will represent the face of the brand are inviting higher turnover and reduced product and service quality.
If the cause of inviting unfriendly employees into the company is the latter, and those conducting the job interviews are knowingly relaxing selection criteria in order to expeditiously fill job vacancies, then it’s up to leadership to revisit and reset standards. See this post for more on standards and see this one for more on behavioral interviewing.
Value for price paid
When customers question the value for price paid, it’s because the product and service quality did not meet or exceed the cost. When this occurs, customers have buyer’s remorse – a sense of regret after having made a purchase. There are many emotions that a company would hope to inspire in its customers, but regret isn’t one of them.
There have been many studies that reveal a correlation between customer service quality and value for price paid. One such study by American Express found that 68 percent of consumers would be willing to spend more with a company that they believe provides excellent customer service. Survey respondents, on average, said they would pay a premium of 14 percent for superior service.
Here’s a thought: Why not properly invest in preparing for and delivering a superior customer experience and then recoup this expense by charging a premium for it? And if you think that’s naïve, search “Will customers pay more for better service?” and see what pops up. You can spend all afternoon wading through the proof – or you can simply head out to your favorite local coffee or tea emporium and spend 14 percent more (at a minimum) for the product than you would for a mediocre substitute elsewhere.
More than a third of hotel guests don’t think hotels put a lot of effort into providing a great guest experience. Let’s examine the word “effort.” When people ask me to name the single trait or attribute that I look for in a hospitality industry job applicant, I always say “initiative.” I believe that if an employee lacks initiative and a willingness to expend discretionary effort in the moment of choice, it will not be possible for them to consistently provide exceptional customer service.
So if these three areas: unfriendly employees, value for price paid, and lacking effort are the source of so much customer angst and dissatisfaction, then why not address them right now? Ensure that hiring processes are consistent and selection criteria linked to organizational values and standards are not compromised. Regularly examine and invest in the customer experience in order to justify price premiums and deliver value for price paid. Finally, hire for and reward initiative because, without it, exceptional customer service is not possible.
Don’t settle for ordinary. Choose extraordinary. (It’s always a choice.) Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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Watch the 90-second book trailer.