A simple question for you: Why does Bali have so many tourists visiting here, with numbers still increasing every year? Is it because Bali/Indonesia has a fabulous marketing campaign on TV and internet akin to that of Malaysia? If that’s the case then I’ve missed it.
Wouldn’t you agree it’s from word of mouth? Heidi going home and telling her family and friends about her experience seems much more likely to be the major cause of tourism level s here.
Could Bali do even better if it had a Chief Marketing Officer who was responsible for tracking the whole customer journey (for each customer segment) to ensure the experience was as finely tuned as possible? A person who could coordinate and publicise activities, who could help individual tourism businesses with improved customer engagement practices including follow up surveys and loyalty programs, and re-affirmation of the investment the tourist had made here? Would Bali be leaking fewer tourists to other Asian holiday destinations?
If you have a tourism-dependent business, what do you do in the key journey step involving after sales service and follow up with your customers? Do you have any idea how many of them come back every year and who they are, what they like, who they influence? Do you know your Heidi’s?
What I find common here in Bali is that many business owners have little idea who their repeat customers are, yet their Balinese staff can recognize them, even by name after one or two years, and give them a wonderful warm welcome back. Yet these staff usually have no mechanism or incentive to record those really valuable customers for follow-up.
What you could be doing includes:
- checking to see if there were any additional products or services these people could use.
- asking how they enjoyed their experience, or how their whole customer journey experience could be improved.
- Finding out and recording how often these people visited Bali, and what else they do while here?
Your business can go without reflections and evaluations of your services, but you will never be as profitable nor grow as well as your competitor who is taking care of the full customer journey.
What you do in after-sales services can be exceptionally powerful because that will impact and influence the customer’s perception in a positive way if he or she has a negative impression previously.
The customer journey is all about experiences and customer engagement, and particularly in tourism it’s not just about how clean your room is or other individual touch points, it’s about taking home a suitcase full of memories.
There are many ways you can survey the results of your product/service offering. Gaining feedback during the delivery phase of the journey is one option (“How is your meal?”) or you can ask Heidi to complete a survey as part of a final complimentary experience you might offer (“free original Bali bangle for completing this simple tablet questionnaire while we are completing your bill”)
What will give you best business results are the sorts of metrics (and related survey questions) that focus on the whole customer experience rather than only individual touch points.
“Customer engagement is the best measure of current and future performance; an engaged relationship is probably the only guarantee for a return on your business or your clients’ objectives.” (Wikipedia)
Where possible it is far better than you control the situation, especially for any negative feedback, so you have the opportunity to correct any false assumptions or misunderstandings, or offer something tangible to make up for a failure, before Heidi’s complaint goes viral.
Negative experiences can have major impacts on your business.
A survey by ZenDesk showed:
- It costs 6- 9 times as much to gain a new customer as it does to retain Heidi.
- 83% of people trust independent sources for recommendations over advertising.
- 40% of people began purchasing from a competitive brand because of its reputation for superior customer service.
- 55% of people are willing to recommend a business for outstanding service, over product or price.
- 85% of people will pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer experience.
- 82% of people have stopped doing business with one of your competitors because of a bad customer experience.
- Of those, 79% told other people about their bad experience.
- 85% of that 79% wanted to warn others, 55% wanted to vent anger, and only 24% wanted to see what the business would do to fix the situation.
Once you have lost immediate control of feedback, you need to check social media, blogs and product/service sites for any new comments, positive or negative. How well has your brand delivery met your brand promise, and what are you going to do to align them?
More than Customer Satisfaction
Your ultimate goal in the customer journey is to create an overall exceptionally rewarding customer experience, not just to satisfy that one purchase but also to create lifetime value from Heidi and also to reap the benefits of word of mouth.
The key elements of the customer experience are:
- The utility value – how well you help Heidi get her job done and satisfy perfectly her desired outcomes.
- The emotional value – how well you create a satisfying emotional experience in the process.
- Your level of engagement – how deeply you engage with Heidi during that journey to create loyalty and stickiness.
You’re after sales efforts have a series of success targets to meet.
- Customer satisfaction, this is the lowest level.
- Loyalty- retention. Highly engaged customers are more loyal and sticky.
- Word of Mouth advocacy. Highly engaged customers are more likely to provide free and credible advertising on your behalf.
- Ongoing communication and sales are easier with engaged customers.
- Complaint behavior. Early engagement will more likely see a later complaint handled directly with you rather than being broadcast to potential customers.
Even when you appear to have provided a high level of customer satisfaction, you still haven’t won. One study showed that 60-80% of customers defecting to a competitor said they were satisfied or very satisfied just prior to their defection.
Do you engage early and often?
I wonder how many tourist accommodation businesses here send their booked guests a handy guide on:
- How to negotiate immigration and customs on arrival, (including payment option for a VIP walk-through.)
- Where they can expect to find their driver at arrivals – what he looks like and his uniform colors (a photo isn’t difficult), the sign he will hold up, on the left or the right of the aisle as they exit Customs.
- Options for planned trips and specialist shopping.
- Common Indonesian phrases, and likely ceremonies during their booked time here.
- Options designed especially for children.
- Option to book a phone card to be ready at reception when they arrive.
- All this in your downloadable app with full detail of their accommodation, menu, your facilities, contact details, other FAQs and local tour and shopping suggestions.
These are the experiences that can set the whole tone of your customer experience here, even before they see you, so it is still part of your customer’s journey and needs to be addressed to remove as many uncertainties as possible. The upside is that what you provide them at this stage adds great value to the experience during that delicious phase of anticipation.