Published: February 24, 2017 | Comments
A new window pops up on an agent’s screen saying “Extra pillows would be great”. It’s an incoming text message from a customer who is planning to check into one of the hotel branches tomorrow, roughly 300 miles from where the agent, who works for the hotel chain’s contact center, is located. Within a few seconds, the message has been delivered to the particular property, signed off on as “received,” routed to room service who will ensure that there are, in fact, extra pillows upon the guest’s arrival, and a confirmation text has been sent to the guest explaining that it is no problem at all, and offering safe travels.
This type of on-promise/off-premise work-flow, utilizing SMS as a communication channel, may seem a bit future-thinking. However, the technology to allow this approach, including the automated workflow, is here today. This example is specific to the hotel industry, but there are lessons that can be applied across more segments, and benefits that can be accumulated within any company in almost any industry. For instance:
- Messaging allows for proactive service- One of the key improvements that comes from incorporating a messaging solution can be found in the way that companies and their contact centers can proactively address customers, especially before an issue becomes an issue. In many cases, this might be a small action, but customers tend to view these as businesses that go the extra mile. In the pillow example from earlier, guest satisfaction with their experience will increase dramatically as a result of this brief exchange. Applying this approach to another industry, couldn’t a cell phone carrier follow the same model and let customers know that they’re due for an upgrade (so a customer doesn’t need to call or go online to find out)?
- Messaging allows for real-time remediation- In the hotel space, there is a wide range of reasons that guests might prefer to send a text message request, as opposed to calling the front desk. We recently analyzed 10,000 messages sent between hotels and their customers using our platform, and found that more than one out of every four messages were about the room. Each of these offered an opportunity to fix something immediately. Again, there are examples in other markets where this can also be true. Might someone who’s recently enrolled in a new insurance feel awkward about a phone conversation asking if a particular illness is covered under their new policy feel better asking their question behind the anonymity of a text?
Immediate remediation comes with an ancillary benefit. When something is fixed immediately, it all but ensures that there won’t be any sort of negative online feedback. In a separate study, we found that more than 95% of guest booking decisions are informed by online reviews. Various studies in other markets largely mirror our results. Preventing negative reviews will increase the number of positive and neutral reviews that potential customers see.
- Messaging provides actionable insights- Like most feedback that comes through a contact center, information from messaging can be catalogued and analyzed to create actionable feedback. With our hotel clients, partners have delved deep into the feedback provided by messaging to learn details like which chef in their restaurants has the highest customer satisfaction, or which cleaning crew regularly misses items. This granular level of detail can be gleaned across all markets, making contact centers into a valuable source of company information.
The futuristic, omnichannel idea of customers connecting with the brands and organizations they prefer to do business with through text and other messaging solutions is here today. Using the hotel space as an example, it’s easy to see how organizations with call centers can easily incorporate messaging technologies to improve customer experiences, enhance customer retention, and engage customers in the customer’s communication channel of choice.
Want to learn more? TrustYou is one of the companies delivering on the promise of customer-centric communications. Within the platform, TrustYou Messaging, hotels can communicate with their guests through email, SMS and even Facebook Messenger.