Dig­i­tal dilem­mas

Onboard Hospitality - - Opinion -

In the age of the ex­pe­ri­ence econ­omy the qual­ity of ev­ery cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tion builds cus­tomer loy­alty and ad­vo­cacy, and both are closely aligned to prof­its.

Big data and the in­creas­ing use of tech­nol­ogy en­able brands to un­der­stand their cus­tomers bet­ter – of­ten bet­ter than they un­der­stand them­selves. With em­bed­ded cook­ies track­ing clicks online, brands have the op­por­tu­nity to be very foren­sic and holis­tic in elim­i­nat­ing ‘fric­tion points’, and re­lent­less in iden­ti­fy­ing their cus­tomer's emo­tive and prac­ti­cal needs as they search online with their credit cards at the ready.

Im­plicit in the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence is a silent plea: “Know me and what I want be­fore I want it.” It seems that pri­vacy in­tru­sion is a trade off most cus­tomers are will­ing to ac­cept for a more tai­lored ex­pe­ri­ence.

But not all. Re­search by Amadeus shows that 64% of trav­ellers in Asia Pa­cific are open to shar­ing their in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially In­done­sians (80%). How­ever, 69% of Ja­panese are not.

In its re­search en­ti­tled 'The Jour­ney of Me' (very mil­len­nial), Amadeus found that the top sources of in­flu­ence were online travel sites, friends, fam­ily, work col­leagues and re­views.

The re­search found that trav­ellers had three emo­tive and prac­ti­cal needs while on the road: ac­cess­ing maps and location info, shar­ing pic­tures with fam­ily and friends, and let­ting peo­ple

know they were safe. That’s why Face­book, Google, What’s App, Twit­ter and the like com­mand such loy­alty – they meet our needs at home or on the road.

Trav­ellers also wanted the right rec­om­men­da­tions through the right chan­nels at the right time, be it by email, chat or so­cial me­dia. If brands sur­prise and de­light them then loy­alty is more likely. How­ever, 14% of trav­ellers in the re­search said no travel ser­vice provider ever ex­ceeded their ex­pec­ta­tions. Only ho­tels at 24% or book­ing sites at 23% were likely to de­light.

The key take­away is: if you want loy­alty look at the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence holis­ti­cally, iden­tify any fric­tion points and aim to re­move them.

Ac­cord­ing to Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view, there is a clear sta­tis­ti­cal cor­re­la­tion be­tween this kind of holis­tic ap­proach and fi­nan­cial growth. Ev­i­dence shows cus­tomers on a fric­tion­less path be­come ad­vo­cates for the brand through so­cial me­dia and word of mouth too.

So, take a deep breath. Be bru­tally hon­est about your cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and start mak­ing changes. Greater loy­alty and higher prof­its should then be just a step away.

Pri­vacy in­tru­sion is a trade off most cus­tomers are will­ing to ac­cept for a

more tai­lored ex­pe­ri­ence. But not all.

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