Professional services firms tend to invest significant resources in acquiring new clients. However, they often neglect customer retention efforts. What makes a customer likely to return or recommend your business to their network?
If you rely solely on the results or products you provide, you are missing out on an important opportunity to build and retain lasting relationships with your customers. When your competitors offer comparable results and products, your customers’ experience with your business is essential.
As the founder of a marketing agency and brand consultant, Owen Garrity, the author of this article, often looks for opportunities to apply best practices from other industries to marketing. Over the years, he has observed the guest experience of luxury hotels, both as a client and as a consultant. Recently, he had the opportunity to advise a hotel owner as they re-located and sold. This experience showed him the depth of thought and planning that luxury hotels put into providing world-class service to their guests. He says applying this client-centered approach to professional services agencies is crucial.
An example of a high-quality guest experience is what luxury hotels offer. Each stage of the customer’s journey is studied to ensure that their stay exceeds their expectations. Whether you run a law firm, accounting firm, marketing agency or consulting firm, you can apply the hospitality practices of leading hotels to your guest experience. Let’s take a look at the stages of the luxury hotel guest journey and how you can apply hospitality practices to your business.
In a hotel, the front desk is the customer’s first point of contact after booking. Guests are greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable hotel representative who helps them find their room and provides essential information about their stay.
For your business, take note of who is the first point of contact for your customers. This person is responsible for your customers’ first impression of your business. Their behavior and actions will set expectations for the rest of your customer journey. It is essential that all employees receive appropriate training to provide your customers with personalized and knowledgeable support that highlights your brand values from the start.
Once settled into their room, hotel guests often consult the concierge to make travel arrangements. The concierge can help them find everything they need for a great vacation, from restaurant reservations to entertainment options to transportation and shopping recommendations. The concierge is a source of information about the hotel and the city he is visiting.
As part of a professional service, the concierge is the person who works closely with your clients. For marketing agencies, this is the account manager; For a law firm, this is the lead attorney responsible for the client’s file. This person should be ready to answer any questions your customers have and make recommendations if they are not sure about the right product or service for them.
The key to maximizing the concierge’s role in your business is to never decline a customer’s request. If you can’t offer the product or service they need, offer them another solution. Inform him of other possibilities he may not be aware of to help him achieve his goals.
One of the most attractive aspects of staying in a luxury hotel is room service. Guests can order anything they want over the phone and have it delivered to their room. This combination of ample choice and convenience makes room service an excellent convenience in many hotels.
For your business, this type of service represents a commitment to support your customers throughout their journey. Whether they have questions about an ongoing project or ideas for a new project, your team should be ready to respond quickly to help your clients access the resources and solutions they need.
For hotel guests, leaving their room marks the end of a customer’s journey. However, checkout is not limited to paying the bill. Hotels often seek feedback from their guests by training receptionists to ask, “How was your stay?” and send surveys to customers after they leave to ask them to share how they can improve their visit. This last request shows guests that their opinions matter and that the hotel strives for continuous improvement.
Your customer journey should not end with an invoice. Ask for their input and be prepared to take action based on their response. Whether you schedule a debriefing meeting after a project is complete or call them for a follow-up, asking the client for feedback after invoices are issued demonstrates your commitment to meeting or exceeding their expectations, and provides an opportunity to plant the seeds of future collaboration.
Your customers’ experience of working with your company can be a determining factor in their decision to work with you again and recommend them to their network. Applying these lessons learned from luxury hotels and their guest experiences can help you infuse hospitality throughout a guest’s journey.
Translated article from Forbes USA – Author: Owen Garrity (Founder of FPW Media)
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