Have you ever filled in a survey card in a hotel room? I haven’t either. But more times than I could count I have wanted to let a hotel know about something I liked about my stay or wasn’t happy about.

Survey cards don’t capture much meaningful information. During most of my stays, everything is fine; nothing noteworthy. Then again, sometimes, I’m passionate about something, and I want to let the hotel know about it. Survey questions like “Rate the cleanliness of your room 1 2 3 4 5″ are highly unlikely to pinpoint the thing that made me happy or disappointed.

If I do want to relate a situation on a comment card, I need to handwrite it in the space at the bottom. Have you ever seen my handwriting? Sometimes I can’t even read it. And there’s not much room to lay out a whole scenario.

All of the above leaves an impression that the hotel really doesn’t want to know what I think. They are happy with “no comment” or with a card with all 4s and 5s circled. But I don’t believe that. I think that hotels really care about their customers’ feedback and would love an easy-to-use, effective way to gather candid feedback on their services.

I recommend this: set up a hot line.

Imagine a card that says, “We really want to know what you thought of your stay. What delighted you? What outraged you? Call x611 to tell your story. If you do, we’ll give you a $25 meal voucher good for your next stay.” It would take 30 seconds to record a story. And it could be done in the moment, when the customer’s recall was fresh. [Also: ask them for a title for their story.]

The rest is pretty simple. The messages are recorded. There are scads of different recording systems to do that. You can autotranscribe the calls using technologies like SpinVox or Dial2Do. Then you’ll have a real repository of customer stories that will tell you what’s working in your hotel… and what’s not. If you want to know what to do with that repository… well, come to the webinar on July 1.

Original Post: http://caddellinsightgroup.com/blog2/2009/06/customers-are-talking-the-hot-line/

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