The brand-customer relationship has evolved in multiple ways. We all remember customer service departments, which basically had a reactive function to inform, advise or manage possible customer incidents with the products or services that brands offered.

In a second stage, customer service was introduced, understood more as the integration of knowledge at all points of contact and channels of interaction, service and sale of products or services.

From Customer Service to Customer Experience

For some time now, we have been immersed in the customer experience, based on how we make the customer feel as a result of all their interactions and experiences with the brand.

But managing experiences isn’t easy. The way we feel about something can change based on certain coordinates that are unrelated to our own experience. Great hotels have long understood that the customer experience is everything to them. Hoteliers know that experiences cannot be managed individually, but are part of an indissoluble whole directly linked to the brand and its business results. They have perfectly identified that their business is directly linked to the way their customers experience it. In other words, your business is your brand, which is in turn experience. Every touchpoint, before, during, and after the customer’s (guest’s) stay reinforces their experience with the brand. From this reality we can extract important knowledge applicable to any business sector.

Customer Experience Management is not simply a part of Management, it is in itself a way of understanding the Management of the brand and the business itself. It is an approach that harmonizes every aspect of the Organization, from strategic direction to people management through each of the departments and with a single and unequivocal focus: how we make the brand live. And this is a notion where the concept of Hospitality can bring great value.

What is Hospitality?

A first approach to Hospitality leads us to a humanist version linked to opening the doors to the stranger and making them part of our world. It implies giving them a good welcome, where they are not only cared for but also cared for and entertained. Secondly, hospitality connects with very deep experiences of human beings. This concept was transferred to the old medieval hospitals where pilgrims and walkers who walked the Camino de Santiago were given shelter and rest, mainly. These hospitals evolved, became professionalized and were the seed of some of the hostels and hotels that surround us today and that have given rise to an important hotel industry.

Hospitality is all about emotions, genuine responses, and even innovation. It starts from the basis of looking outwards, towards the other. It is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the quality of the service, which involves an action towards the interior and towards the perfect achievement of a service. It is not the same as talking about quality of service, which focuses mainly on rules, procedures and ways of doing things, with the ultimate purpose of offering a perfect and error-free service. Hospitality, however, is based on feelings and attitudes, on an observation, on an acknowledgment and a genuine response of the person who practices it to that observation of the other.

In essence, hospitality is a concept present in any interaction between customer and supplier, mainly in the service industry, but also in other sectors. Without a doubt, it is an aspect that allows you to maximize the potential of the customer experience.

I can’t remember all the times where special service has greatly improved my hotel experience. It is an opportunity for companies to incorporate hospitality as part of the customer experience. But let’s remember that it is an attitude, so it will depend on the commitment of each of the people who are part of the Organization to make customers feel unique.

 

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock


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