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Marketing Tips
An Alphabetic Guide To Building Guest Loyalty

Building true guest loyalty is a key to growing a thriving business. Loyal guests are less price sensitive, more immune to competitive entreaties, and can serve you as a powerful marketing arm, going out of their way to promote and defend your company online and off – for free. Here is a brief alphabetic primer to get you well on your way to true guest loyalty you can take to the bank.

A botched “hello” or “goodbye” is hard to recover from – concentrate your best efforts on the beginning and ending – in a service encounter (you can coast a bit in the middle). Psychological studies demonstrate that guests remember the first and last minutes of a service encounter much more vividly — and for much longer — than all the rest of it, due to the way human memory works. Make sure that the first and final elements of your guest interactions are particularly well engineered, because they are going to stick in the guest’s memory.

Be patient filling empty positions in your organization. In an organization aiming for superb service a single disagreeable or unresponsive team member can erode guest loyalty and team morale. That’s why it can be better to leave a position unfilled rather than rushing to hire someone unsuitable. (The check-in I had last week at the “elite” check-in station — by the attendant who wouldn’t stop keyboarding long enough to make eye contact — damaged a brand his co-workers had worked very hard to build. They, and the hotel, will fare better without him, even if it means being tightly staffed for a while.)

Clarify what is acceptable and unacceptable language in your organization. Off-brand language can damage your brand. Develop and rehearse a list of vocabulary words and expressions that fit your brand perfectly. For example, while the expression “no worries" sounds fine if a clerk at a Portland Bose® Audio Store says it, it would be exceedingly off-brand coming from the concierge at the Four Seasons in Milan.

Don’t make guests ask — anticipate their wishes whenever possible. When a guest's wish is met before the wish has been expressed, it sends the message that you care about the guest as an individual. This may seem like it requires telepathic ability, but in essence it is simply founded on paying attention and knowing your guests. And it’s well worth the effort: The cared-for feeling a guest gets when her wishes are anticipated is where you will generate the fiercest loyalty.

Expectations of speed are increasing all around us; so faster service wins the day. What was timely enough last year, isn’t now. Modern guests expect speedier service than did any generation before them. (Not only speedier than their parents expected, but even than they themselves expected this time last year!) In this age of iPhones and Droids and, you may as well not deliver your service if you’re going to deliver it late.

About the author: Micah Solomon is one of the top speakers and advisers on Customer Service and Customer Experience issues [please link to] and co-author of the recent bestseller Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization.
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