In this opinion piece, Vicky Katsabaris (pictured below), customer experience subject matter expert at Qualtrics, identifies what travel companies need to consider if they are serious about improving consumer experience.
Travel organisations know that their ability to provide the best experience for their travellers is critical to their business success, and a core component of this is acting on feedback.
However, according to a new global research study from Qualtrics, which surveyed 1,700 travellers including respondents from Australia and New Zealand, a significant proportion of holidaymakers in Australia and New Zealand believe their hotel and airline feedback never reaches anyone who can make a difference.
When it comes to hotels, guests believe feedback is ignored almost half of the time (46 per cent). Likewise, airline passengers believe their feedback is ignored 48 per cent of the time, with one in four passengers left feeling that senior airline executives and frontline staff don’t care about their views.
Regardless of your industry, it is important to bring customer feedback into your organisation and importantly, act on it. By not acting on negative feedback, organisations are only amplifying the negative experience, and what’s worse is that it becomes a missed opportunity to win back the customer.
In order for customers to feel that you have truly responded to feedback, you need to act fast. Business leaders can struggle to make improvements to services without real-time, actionable information that their teams can learn from and becomes embedded into their decision making. Hotels and airlines must shift their focus from collecting raw data to acting on data in real time using sophisticated experience management platforms.
Here are two key focus areas for travel organisations to consider if they are serious about improving consumer experience:
- Act faster
Travel companies can collect feedback through user surveys, but it may take months for feedback tools to process the data before it is passed to the right person to make actionable changes.
The survey found that 39 per cent of travellers expect hotel and airlines to respond to their Facebook question or complaint the same day. However, the feedback channels used by many hotels and airlines to do not allow for information to be shared in real time.
Acting too slowly on consumer feedback means it is no longer relevant and may foster cynicism. The faster you can get customer feedback to the relevant stakeholders, the quicker you can make adjustments. The quicker you make adjustments, the more clearly customers see you were listening to their opinion. This preserves and deepens trust in your brand, especially if they see you are identifying problems you can resolve for them. Don’t wait for feedback forms to be collated or your marketing team to review social media comments.
- Make it easy
Hotels and airlines are constantly updating offerings and programs that influence the consumer experience. Their feedback mechanisms need to be flexible to adapt to these changes, ensuring feedback is correct, timely and relevant. This means that whenever and however your customers interact with you, you need to create a natural conversation between you and your customer through a wide range of feedback channels so that you can learn what they like, what they dislike and how to get them to spend more.
The best way to capture real-time feedback from customers is to ask for feedback the same way they interacted with you. For example, if a customer asked a question via online chat, then you should seek feedback right after the chat within the same chat window.
Asking about customers’ experiences and, importantly, acting on the feedback, can help optimise the brand’s image and build greater brand loyalty. When customers feel valued, heard and understood, they are more likely to view the company favourably. Key to ensuring this happens is by acting fast and making the process easy for your travellers.