Researching and booking a recent trip to lovely Lisbon, I was struck by how one can get it so right and so wrong, in simple ways.
As always, I believe it boils down to solid customer care and business communication principles, regardless of the technology employed.
I was impressed by the response received from the proprietor of a small B&B listed, not surprisingly, as most popular in Tripadvisor (click on the image for a larger version).
- thanks me for my ‘friendly’ email [everyone loves a compliment]
- offers one night at a discount [worth a try to fill an occupancy gap]
- highlights the most important point [people often only skim email / websites]
- is warm, friendly and personal
- lists locations and photos of his other properties
- takes a long term view, inviting us to contact him the next time
On the other hand, while reading reviews on Tripadvisor, I come across two responses by a hotel to poor reviews, both of which start with a nicely-worded but identical sentence. While I strongly advocate the use of templates for convenience and effectiveness, their use in this instance conveys insincerity and a lack of interest in the guests’ feedback.
Their response is personalised after the first sentence, but this effort may be wasted, because of the way the people skim-read on the web and the manner in which the responses are displayed.
So, what can we learn from our Lisbon colleagues?
- Make the most of every contact opportunity with potential, actual or past clients or guests
- Be friendly and personalise communication
- Consider the wider / future audience: viewers of forum posts or forwarded email and referrals
- Check how your input will be displayed before publishing online and tailor the content and layout accordingly