QHotels Director of Operations Vivien Sirotkin explains why honest self assessment is critical to business success.
In January 2011, BDRC released its annual Venue Verdict report, announcing success stories from 2010: those in our industry who met or exceeded the needs of their customer base. Aside from the celebrations, I wonder, are businesses really using the insights to inform their strategy for 2011 and beyond?
How many of us can honestly say that the views and feedback of our customers, and equally important, our employees (at every level) have informed our plans?
Too many businesses are content with toasting success and then moving swiftly on, forgetting the most important step: reviewing feedback and using it to shape the future.
At QHotels self-evaluation and listening to our customers and peers is critical to the way in which we shape our business.
We introduced new benefits to our Total Meetings Package, such as a dedicated Conference Concierge, which were developed in line with organiser feedback through participation in the Venue Verdict customer satisfaction programme. Our superior QStar bedrooms were also created following research with more than 3,000 of our corporate guests.
As well as product and service standards, customers look to work with businesses who share their own values.
So what are the tools of the trade?
Speaking and listening to your customers is vital; nothing beats genuine face-to-face feedback, and we encourage all of our staff to tell us what they hear so we can act accordingly. We invite all of our guests to complete online questionnaires following their stay.
Speaking to your staff and customers and using what they tell you to identify training needs, as well as working with them to develop new products and services is vital if you are going to ensure that your customer service is top class.
Using third party customer trackers such as Retail Eyes and Venue Verdict gives an important insight to competitive performance, but is also used to look at areas where scores can be improved.
User-generated review sites such as TripAdvisor are also building in importance. If you ignore these you’ll be left behind. We actively encourage our teams to engage and respond to TripAdvisor reviews.
Honest self-evaluation pushes you to remain fresh and innovative in the market place, enabling you to keep loyal customers and attract new, and therefore it must become a priority for our industry.
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