A Business Challenge for the week – put yourself in your Customers’ Shoes!

I have been reflecting on a piece of implementation work the Wizme team have been doing for a large European hotel and venue brand. They came to us with a goal of better automating the end-to-end process of the meeting enquiry to payment lifecycle, with a specific focus on online enquiries. 

The team at Wizme took a step back – automation was part of the conference teams’ and customers’ experience, but that process was reliant on delivering the human decisions and written materials that had evolved over the years.  And this was the shocker:  at every stage of the automation review, we were faced with documents, images, embedded pricing decisions and conflicting messages that jolted all the Leadership Team – they were simply not up to the job. 

This simple exercise exposed the fact that over the years, venues have “added to” their solutions, marketing materials and processes. They have just bolted on, rather than review wholesale, the end-to-end customer experience, and as a result it did not look pretty and was an obstacle to revenue growth and conversion success. 

Alas, this is not an isolated position.  We have been reviewing venues across the globe to assess their online presence along with telephone and email enquiry capability.  In the majority of cases, there is a disconnect with meeting customer needs in a seamless and sensible manner.  It may explain why so many venues are so dependent upon third party agencies to “translate” such confusion, to make it understood by the end customer.  

So, for venue operators, take some time out and make some enquiries.  Map out the interaction you have with your customers from that enquiry to payment lifecycle.  From our experience, pay close attention to a few areas: 

  1. The online enquiry or booking experience:  is it visual, has it got a logical flow, is it consistent, and does it help you and the customer match their needs to your offering? 
  1. The email or telephone enquiry experience:  are you capturing all the information that allows you to answer, with confidence and quickly, the questions customers pose, and allow you to be relevant to what they are asking for, spotting upsell items that they may have forgotten? 
  1. The proposal or offer:  does it look visually impressive and so putting you in the best light, reflecting you understood the brief and the offer reflects which you have agreed and mirrors contractual terms you have?  Equally, is there a call to action – when does the customer have to respond, who do they contact if they have more questions and how? 
  1. The chase-up of decision:  if this is written or scripted, is the message clear? 
  1. The confirmation and contract:  is it up to date and accurate with the agreed offer conditions and is it auditable? 
  1. Amendments and modifications:  managing simple changes that will come in day to day.  Has the customer got an easy and auditable way to deliver these to you, rather than call and be left holding or directed to voice mail? 

The automation layer that Wizme then delivers is to ensure all of these top-quality materials are delivered to the customer at the right time, in the right format.  Speed of response is part of your brand and customer experience.  One of the key “put offs” for a customer, after a good first impression, is then the slow responses to any follow ups.  They lose confidence in the venue and business relationships get strained before they even start. 

So, my challenge to venue leaders is to have a close look at your customer experience.  You have probably done everything possible within your business to address costs over recent months, but here is a great way to give your revenue growth the best opportunity to flourish. 

Wizme is here to help if you want any guidance.  

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