How Engaging with Customers Online and In Social Is Driving Millions in Revenue at Choice Hotels

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When it comes to customer experience, what often separates big mistakes from little ones is how companies handle them after the fact. If your customers take the time to tell you about a problem only to be dismissed or ignored, even the tiniest errors can become major pain points. That’s why smart companies use safety nets like customer feedback program and social media monitoring to keep complaints from going unnoticed.

But what if people in your organization aren’t using those safety nets?

This failure to engage can be difficult to notice before its consequences arise — and it can have more than one possible cause. Sometimes technological issues are to blame — for example, a recent Forrester study found that 42% of call center agents are unable to effectively resolve customer issues because broken or fragmented systems. Sometimes employees just don’t see the point of following up on complaints, or think other tasks are more important.



But regardless of the reason, when people in your organization don’t address customer problems, customers get the feeling you don’t care about them. And that can send them packing for good — as one study found when 50% of responding consumers said they’d “break up” with a brand if just one service-related question went unanswered for more than week.

So how can you help your frontline engage with customer voices more effectively — and convince them to take the task seriously as well?

For some time, Choice Hotels — a leading hospitality company with over 6,300 hotel properties worldwide — lacked an answer to that question. They had a good customer experience management (CEM) system, but only 40% of their properties were actively engaged in it. That meant a huge chunk of customer insights — including those on critical social review sites like TripAdvisor — were being ignored.

So Choice gave uncooperative properties a glimpse at the bigger picture. Along the same lines as studies showing the financial benefits of improved customer experiences, Choice analyzed their own data to show that increases in a hotel property’s Likeliness to Recommend (LTR) score also lead to increases in revenue per available room (RevPAR). This relationship meant specific responses to customer concerns — like improvements to room condition — gave properties a tangible financial boost.

Choice also added tools to its existing CEM in order to make it easier for properties to collect and respond to customer comments from surveys, reviews and social channels. Those tools removed much of friction that was keeping Choice’s frontline from using that CEM properly. And when a property still didn’t want to play ball, Choice could use its data findings to demonstrate the exact financial benefit of paying closer attention to the customer experience — giving them no choice but to get on board.



After two years in use, this two-pronged approach has paid off. Over 88% of Choice properties are now actively engaged in their CEM — over twice as many as before. Additionally, two initiatives stemming directly from this renewed focus have resulted in millions of dollars in additional revenue — along with increased conversion rates for Choice’s website.

If you’re interested in learning more about those initiatives — including how closing the loop with customers online is helping Choice add tens of millions in revenue — check out the case study below.

Photo credit: Images Money

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