Why anticipating what your guests would want means more than giving them what they ask…
Proactive customer care can be defined as communication making use of mixed channels that pre-emptively engages guests by providing information before the need arises for the guest to ask. The main goal of proactive customer care is to strengthen relationships, increase loyalty and reduce unnecessary enquiries, ensuring that your establishment delivers a satisfying customerservice. It further enables an establishment to measure guest satisfaction and enables the destination to immediately resolve issues before they expand.
Customer service providers in the hospitality and tourism industry should strive to create a positive first impression. For hospitality and tourism destinations it is important to successfully attract, engage and capture new customers by proactively reaching out to prospective guests. By addressing anticipated questions early in the customer life cycle you immediately start the relationship in a positive way, influencing customers’ future behaviour. Such proactive activities are invaluable to successfully build future relationships between guests and the brand.
Proactive Customer Service (Image from: 1to1media.com)
Some examples of proactive customer care include:
- Timely reminders:
Increasing guest retention through timely reminders of upcoming events, bookings, and other important reservations. With the busy schedules of modern day customers, reminders of their appointments are much appreciated. From a hotel, guesthouse or restaurant’s point of view, these reminders not only aid in building guest loyalty, but also reduce the rate of no-shows, cancellations and past-due payments.
- Proactive confirmations and notifications:
Increase guest satisfaction by delivering proactive confirmations through the guests’ preferred channels. Also use these channels to communicate important information to guests to improve relationships and decrease the potential for dissatisfaction (pain points within the customer’s journey).
- Reduce guest service costs:
Reduce the service costs associated with reaching, satisfying and retaining guests by creating a positive brand image for the hotel, guesthouse or restaurant that will do the selling for you. Influence your guests’ buying patterns by incorporating current trends, designing the perfect unique selling point. Observe what guests do and identify guest expectations from there.
- Enable guest interaction:
Enable guests to interact directly with your destination if confirmation details are incorrect, a change to a booking is required or any other queries need attention. Think creatively – initiate new proactive services that set you apart from your competitors.
- Opt-in or choose yourself:
Providing prospective and current customers with reliable and relevant communication subscription options, through preferred channels, gives the destination the chance to win over customers at their own choosing. Identify how your customers want to be contacted – through email, direct calls, social media, or SMS – and also at what time and day they’re most receptive.
If you still wonder why proactive customer care is such a big deal, surveys have shown that it means customer loyalty, because customers repay anticipatory service with more loyalty which translates into long term value. The main goal of proactive customer care is to surprise and entice customers with convenient and useful information at the moment that they are most receptive.