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Predictable Vs. Experience. The Retail & Hospitality Shift.

Hospitality

There are over 74,000 clothing boutique businesses in the United States. Included in that high number are online boutiques, who have brought a unique frenzy to the retail industry. Trendy, stylish, and exclusive. There’s been shift from “you’re a predictable brand I trust” to “I am loving this exclusive boutique experience.” With more and more online boutiques popping up, shoppers are provided an unshared, chic, shopping experiences that doesn’t feel like the Gap store down the street.  

Interesting enough, there is a similar pivot within the hospitality industry. Large hotel franchises and chains are changing their hotel concepts to reflect a more unique appeal that correlates to the city or town of their hotel location. These changes then compete with smaller, independently owned hotels who are gaining in popularity. The one-of-a kind charm is alluring travelers across the globe. Guests are constantly looking for what is postable, or the “social return,” according to a recent article by Kristen Morales. With more and more people waking up and looking at their Instagram accounts, posting incredible places they’ve been, the increase in social media influences, and Gen Z gearing up to lead the way, hotels are following suit and adjusting strategy.  

Social Media’s Role

Social media has turned the hotel stay into much more than good service and a clean room. According to a new study by University of Georgia researches, it’s all about the ‘experience’.

Guests are taking to social media to post and show their followers and friends the brand-new experience they had. It’s all about the post and what that individual will get in return from sharing that post.

Bynum Boley, an associate professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, says it best, “When you have all these choices out there, you’re going with the one that’s least risky. But service quality is so standardized now-there’s all these reviews online, and service quality is almost a given,” Boley said. “But there’s also a rising influence of people who want a unique experience and also want to be able to broadcast their travel experiences through social media.”

Showing Instagram or Facebook followers the different experiences you are able to have sets you apart. It’s easy nowadays to pull up reviews on a hotel to see how they rank with cleanliness and quality. Going above and beyond for a guest is providing them with an exclusive experience that only comes from them staying at your hotel.

Adjusting Your Focus

So what are major hotels doing to compete with the independent boutique hotel? They are securing their place in the hotel race with new glamorous and attractive accommodations.  The Ranch at Rock Creek offers a Father’s Day getaway that is inspired by iconic film characters. Yes, dads can finally really feel like Jason Bourne or Indiana Jones. Or Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, provides kids with an enchanting education journey through the land of Ubud. Everything from yoga, rock painting, to dance fit, and shadow puppet making is provided.  

Social Media Transparency  

From retail to the hotel boutique experience, both industries have one thing in common, their need to be tech savvy in an ever evolving, competitive market. Transparency is vital as you build your online brand and community. Listening and responding to what is being said about your hotel franchise or independent hotel is a great step forward. For most consumers, the customer journey begins with online reviews. Whether they are seeking to find a new hotel experience or checking out a new shopping boutique. This drives behavior and decisions. Monitoring this activity helps you manage and promote your brand.

About Us:

We monitor social media, and every public review site on the web using unique and multiple software platforms. Let us provide you with a comprehensive report of your online reputation and help increase your sales. The face is, 91% of 18-34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations.

How are you going to stand out?

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How to Upsell and Cross-Sell

customer feedback, customer service,

Upselling and cross-selling are both beneficial for any industry for one simple reason: more revenue.

But you must be strategic in how you approach your customers or they will see right through the “You may also like …” sales pitch. To really see success with your product suggestions, you must strive for the ultimate goal: customer delight. When you can convince your customer that your suggestions are for their benefit, then you can master the art of upselling and cross-selling.

Keep reading to learn how to use upselling and cross-selling to your advantage.

Upselling vs Cross-Selling

Upselling is encouraging the purchase of anything that would make the primary purchase more expensive. Cross-selling is encouraging the purchase of anything in conjunction with the primary product. For example, it would be upselling to offer the purchase of batteries with a camera, but it would be cross-selling to offer the purchase of a scanner with a printer.

Helen Campbell‏, founder of business coaching and training company Jazz Cat, advises her clients to tailor their offering to the client’s specific needs. “By upselling or cross-selling your services appropriately you can help your client achieve their goal, for example, more time, peace of mind, or a solution to a problem,” she says. It is all about adding value, and the difference between ‘selling’ something to someone and adding value is huge. “The key skill is to listen, hear your client’s needs and offer innovative and practical options,” says Campbell.

It’s worth keeping in mind that upselling can be 20 times more effective than cross selling, probably because once they have a specific purchase in mind customers don’t want to be distracted by something else. However, something that makes their first purchase better has far more chance of encouraging them to buy.

One of the golden rules of upselling is to ensure that it is highly relevant or complementary to the current purchase. “It’s the jewelry, the cardigan, the shoes to go with the dress. It’s the better gadget with more features,” says Marie Brown, founder of Beyond the Kitchen Table, which works with small businesses to help them grow. “It might be ‘we also have this gadget that can also do X, therefore saving you time or the purchase of another gadget’,” adds Brown. “I recently bought a more expensive printer on the basis that the ink would cost me a lot less over three years.”

And upselling and cross-selling is not just for retail. It can trickle into other businesses…for example, travel agencies. Pam Smith, leisure manager at Frosch Mann Travels in Huntersville, North Carolina, notes that “Travelers have a tendency to default to the product they’ve done before. If they’ve cruised before, for example, and enjoyed it, they might assume a cruise is best for their next trip. But that’s not always the case—we need to have those conversations about what they want to see and do to figure out the best option.” This is the heart and soul of travel professionals—using your expertise to point travelers in the right direction towards their best possible vacation.

Just like any retail business, Smith pays careful attention to her clients’ feedback on previous trips to see where there might be an open window to sell a more premium travel experience. She says, “My favorite is ‘We loved the trip, but the hotel could have been a little nicer or the transfers better.’ Then I know there’s an opportunity to go for something more upscale.”

She also listens carefully to the origin and background of a vacation idea to see what add-ons might be appropriate. For example, she recalls working with an older couple who was going to go on a river cruise in Europe. “They told me they didn’t anticipate ever being able to go back to Europe after this,” says Smith. “To make the most of their time there, I also suggested a guided vacation for after the river cruise. They loved the idea of seeing more while they were there.”

Opportunities for upselling and cross-selling exist in every realm of business; you just have to be aware and ready when they arise. By using your knowledge and expertise to identify the right experience for each client, you will create a loyal client base and continually grow your business.

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How would you Rate your Social Media Customer Service?

Customer Service and Social Media

Why is it that negative comments on social media always generate more interest than positive ones? You know what they say, misery loves company! It is imperative for businesses to have a plan in place to respond to complaints in the right way and via the right channel. Social media has become a customer service venue for your customers.

Customers are flocking to the platforms where they know they’ll be heard and, more importantly, where they know they’ll get a response. This is why Twitter has become a prime avenue for customer interaction with companies. According to research most customers consider three things: where the brand is active, where the customer thinks he will get the best response and how important response time is.

So let’s make a game plan for responding to irate customers.

 

 

1) Not responding is not an option

Edison Research and Jay Baer, author of “Hug Your Haters”, conducted a study about the responsiveness consumers expect from businesses. During their research, they discovered that customers get a response on social platforms about 50 percent of the time, which means companies are doing themselves — and their customers — a disservice. According to their findings, failing to respond on social media can trigger a 43% decrease in customer advocacy; a reply, however, can give you a 20% bump.

2) Find instances where your company is mentioned

Many companies believe that Twitter has become the primary sounding board, but in actuality 71% of all complaints on social media are actually posted on Facebook. Only 3% of tweets about customer service issues call out the company’s so to find all your mentions, employ a social media listening software, and always set up Google Alerts for your company.

3) Empathy is key

You can’t change what happened to upset your customer, but you can control over what happens next. Adopt the BEET strategy: Be Empathetic Every Time.

 

 

Follow this example by Wink Frozen Desserts:

 

A customer bashed Wink’s vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free frozen desserts on Facebook so CMO Jordan Pierson replied with a sincere apology and offered a refund. “While we hope that everyone will love and enjoy Wink as much as we do, we realize that not everyone will. If we can help, please send us an email to info@winkfrozendesserts.com. Thanks for giving Wink a try!” His response put a positive spin on the product with empathy that makes you feel great about the brand.

4) Only reply twice

The rule is to never reply to a customer more than twice in a public forum. Further conversation should take place behind the scenes. First, apologize and show empathy to the first complaint. Second, if the customer complains again, apologize again and offer to discuss the issue in private. Your goal isn’t to satisfy the unhappy customer; it’s to go on record so your whole audience can see you care.

If you answered the headline with a yes – give yourself a major pat on the back. You are out there setting the standard for others to follow (And please, get in touch so we can get you signed on for a guest blog spot). If you answered “no, our social customer care is most definitely not kicking ass” – don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve curated five thought-provoking blogs that will help you get on the path to best-in-class social customer care. Whether you’re working with an outsourced strategic partner or whether you are operating with an in-house customer service solution, these posts are must-read content as you work on improving your customer experience on social media.

 

social media stats

5) Watch your characters

Certain social media platforms only allow for a certain number of characters, which could cut off your response and lead to misinterpretation. Make sure you include links for the full response or provide a contact email for customers to voice further concerns.

Is good customer service really valuable? A study from Harvard Business Review asked that question and their findings were fascinating. A response, even with an angry customer, can boost the amount the customer is willing to pay for services. So get your customer service plan in place and start responding today!

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