Great service can change your brand’s image

Renie Cavallari

Renie CavallariPictured: Renie Cavallari

Your brand is no longer defined by your marketing strategy. Your messaging and market position are only reflective of the words you choose to describe your brand. And while knowing who you are and what you want your organization to be is a necessary first step, your market message is truly defined by your customers.

We all know the power of the conversations happening on TripAdvisor and other social media outlets that talk about what we offer and how we deliver the experience—the real question is what you do with this information. Knowing what your customers think doesn’t change anything. The real focus has to be on how you respond to them: what you change to improve their experience and exceed their expectations.

Service is a culture. Training is a critical tool to reinforce your culture, yet at its core, your service is a reflection of your leadership’s effectiveness (or lack thereof). Leaders must be proactive when it comes to correcting service problems, not reactive.

The key to instigating service improvement—aka change—is starting with the right people. You need people who like people. More than that, you need people who are engaged and care about their work.

As a leader, you set the example and the tempo around how your people treat your customers. Those who do not follow your lead and commitment to outstanding service need to be coached. If they don’t improve, they need to leave the building. You can’t afford bad service.

Study after study, including our own at Aspire, have proven that RevPAR and profitability have a direct correlation to your service effectiveness. Choose to focus on what matters most today. Choose people who are committed to service, and more customers will commit to your brand.

According to a recently published independent PhoCusWright study commissioned by TripAdvisor, there are a few stats worth paying attention to:

77 percent of guests usually or always reference TripAdvisor reviews before selecting a hotel.

80 percent of respondents read at least six to 12 reviews before making their decision.

73 percent of respondents said they look at photos submitted by travelers and that they help them make choices.