Information is Key

Amazing how information, and the application of that information through the use of technology, can transform a customer experience from the mundane to the extraordinary. Recenly I was at a Kimpton hotel in NY. I had just barely stepped through the front door, bags in hand, when a uniformed bellboy approached me and said, “Will you be checking in today?” I was tired after a long flight and said a weary yes. He smiled,  “What’s your name?”  I told him and he said, “You can leave your bags with me, sir, and they’ll be check in, and my bags would be waiting for me in my room.  I handed him my bags and walked to the front desk where the clerk was ready for me. “You’ll be checking in today Mr. Perdue?” Whoa! How did he know who I was? I was blown away!  That small gesture of greeting me by name as though he recognized me made me feel genuinely special and strangely at home, even though I had never stayed at this hotel before. In remembering the experience, I recall the first bellboy muttering into his lapel as I was walking away toward the front desk. The technology: A wireless mic. The information: My name. The folks at Kimpton combined these to create an amazing customer experience.

Smart businesses of all sizes understand the benefits of leveraging technology and information to enhance their customers’ experience. By collecting and storing customer information, and by making that information easily accessible to everyone at the company who might interact with their customers, smart businesses transform what might be a run-of-the-mill experience, like checking in to a hotel, into something memorable, something that people will talk about. And in this economy, the difference between companies that thrive and those that struggle will be in the customer experience.

Whether yours is a small company of just a few people,  or a large enterprise of thousands crossing multiple countries and timezones, having the tools to manage information, and actually USING those tools, is essential to managing each of your customers’ experiences.  Organizations that experience multiple transactions  from a variety of sources (phone, chat, email) can choose a CRM tool like RightNow Technologies (we use them at Tripharbor) to provide a  single view of all customer interactions.  So, when a customer calls, whomever might answer the phone has all the information they need to get to the customer’s solution quickly and effeciently.  For smaller companies, something as simple Google Aps (such as Google Docs, which is free) can be all that’s necessary to share information in a way that allows their customer-facing staff to make their customers feel special and valued.  And a customer that doesn’t feel valued is a customer will, most certainly, find another place to spend their money.

Making customers feel valued is not that difficult.  It’s really about using information and technology in a smart way.  Our customers deserve nothing less, right?
Thanks for reading, and leave a comment if you like!