What any startup can learn from the hotel industry

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In the digital age, the production of services and company products can be extremely fast and efficient, but it’s important that businesses remember to sell their services with customer service still in the front of their minds.

An article by Inc. says that businesses need to have a five-star customer service focus at all times.

Startups

Similarly, Forbes wrote an article titled 8 Customer Service, HR and Leadership Secrets From The 5-Star Broadmoor Hotel that said much the same thing. A quote from the article said that the hotel’s “customer service is so genuine, eager and consistent that it visibly turns guests into nicer human beings when they stay there”.

This is the crux of what people expect from any business, not just hotels; they want friendly service (or pleasant service at the very least) and attention that is the same every time they return. In material terms, the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort has much to brag about, as it records 53 straight 5-star designations, according to the Forbes Travel Guide.

Such ratings are enough to separate this hotel from almost any other and this is exactly what every business should want to achieve. But how do they get it?

You have to ask yourself difficult questions

What are the things that are standing in the way of your success? What will stop you from breaking into your target market?

Hospitality

Most technology companies or digital businesses will be used to these sorts of questions as it is a difficult business in which to gain traction and there are also many other businesses in this sector. These are the things that can get in the way of your business breaking into your desired market, and one of the best ways to overcome them is to think carefully about who your customer is, what they want and how you’re going to give it to them in a way that no one else can.

Ask yourself difficult questions about the very little things, because if you don’t, your customer will and you need to be prepared for any eventuality.

Hotel staff never say “no”

Staff in a hotel are there to solve the problems of the guests, whatever they may be and by saying “no” that member of staff is basically admitting defeat in front of the customer.

Hotel Staff

Wherever possible, you should attempt to do the same with your business, obviously there will be certain things that you can’t do for your customer, depending on the purpose of your business. But, if you can find a way to solve the problem with a product or service in your remit, then you should absolutely do it and try to say “yes” whenever you are able.

It’s not all about the fancy jobs

People who own hotels are aware of the graft it takes just to get the front doors open on the first day of business. But anyone who works or has worked in a hotel will know that the easy work is the stuff that is face-to-face with the customer. The really hard work is the stuff that happens behind the scenes.

In hotels, this is the cleaning of the cutlery, the steaming of it and the need to polish it with special gloves that don’t leave fingerprints on any of the silverware. All for a beautifully clean knife and fork that are sullied as soon as a customer touches them. However, the customer appreciates the thought that has gone into the cutlery choice and remarks on its branding, its shape and how shiny it looks.

Plush Bar

The same principle applies to any other business; you have to spend time doing things that are wholly unglamourous (and sometimes seemingly irrelevant) to create an end product or service that your customer will love. Do it and you will see the difference 10-fold.

In the film industry, production companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on mise-en-scene, or the staging of a set. This is everything that gets put onto a set for a scene, before the camera ever starts rolling. Anything you see on screen will have been meticulously chosen by a team of people to help create a specific mood in a film or TV show. Have a look next time you’re watching and you’ll see the difference.

Price isn’t everything

If you open a top-of-the-range hotel, with lush exteriors, upholsteries and serve the finest food and beverages in the world that doesn’t mean anything if you hire staff who are rude to your guests.

Similarly, price doesn’t guarantee quality and just because something says that it’s premium doesn’t mean that it is either. You have to have the substance to support the claims of your product or service, as any good complaint on TripAdvisor will show you.

Hotel Room

By spending time getting to know your industry in these ways, you’re going to put your startup business in a much better position to provide good customer service than if you haven’t spent any time planning for problems. When all is said and done, happy customers are what you’re looking for because these are the people who not only return to use you time and again, but they’re also the ones who recommend you to other people and you need them on your side.