With Customer Loyalty, It’s All About Customer Service
Customer service and product quality are the two most important contributors to customer loyalty. If a customer doesn’t feel they have been treated well or that the product or service did not live up to expectation, the relationship is broken. And it really does come down to just that: a relationship.
Fairmont Hotels is one of my favorite hotel brands when I travel. The quality of the hotels is consistently excellent and – although they don’t have as many hotels as the larger brands – they can often be found in destinations where I’d like to go. I joined their President’s Club loyalty program and we have stayed in a number of their properties with good results. A recent experience, however, reinforced the importance of impeccable service, when challenges arise.
Our trip to Boston was all arranged. I had taken time off from work, redeemed points in our own incentive program for Fairmont Ovation awards, made reservations at the Fairmont Battery Wharf (because the Fairmont Copley Plaza was sold out for standard rooms), printed a map of the Freedom Trail, and booked brunch with friends. We were good to go!
But then, I got a call from Sean from the President’s Club team. . . The Battery Wharf property, I was told, was no longer a Fairmont and the hotel would not accept our Ovation certificates, which could not be returned. Definitely not great news. Having already effectively paid for the two-night stay by redeeming for certificates, we would probably have had to cancel our trip, if it meant paying for another hotel out of pocket.
Sean had a solution for us. Before he even picked up the phone, he had already moved our reservation to the Fairmont Copley Plaza and, to make up for any inconvenience, had upgraded our room. The hotel would honor our Ovation certificates and no extra effort on our part was required. Honestly, we weren’t inconvenienced at all and were just as happy to go to the Copley Plaza, but appreciated the effort.
We appreciated it even more on arrival to Boston. Our room was an extraordinary one-bedroom suite, overlooking Copley Square, the Public Library, and Trinity Church. In the heart of the city, we had the most remarkable view and lovely room we could have hoped for. We cozied up on the window seat and watched the world go by each evening after dinner and ordered up a delectable room service breakfast each morning, which we enjoyed beside our marble fireplace. Truly it was an exceptional stay.
Even if we had been re-accommodated in a standard room, we would have enjoyed our stay, as the hotel offers lovely, renovated guest rooms and excellent service levels. We really appreciated the customer focus of the Fairmont President’s Club team in making this an easy transition for us. But the extra effort they took to make our stay so memorable was really remarkable.
All in all, Fairmont not only continued to earn my brand loyalty, but also exceeded my expectations, making me more likely to share my good experience and to spread the word about their properties.
This is where the link between the brand, customer service, and customer loyalty really pays off. Organizations can strengthen loyalty by encouraging their representatives to treat customers exceptionally. Through clearly defined brand values and a well-designed recognition program, it is possible to lay the groundwork internally for a good experience externally.
In fact, Fairmont’s Philosophy includes the following mission statement and first brand value:
Turning moments into memories for our guests
We know that even the best locations and offerings would be meaningless without outstanding guest service. Our skilled and motivated staff is equipped with the tools and the mindset to naturally deliver on this promise. Within a Fairmont experience, every guest is offered a warm welcome and is made to feel special, valued and appreciated.
They certainly lived up to the mission and the value for us. And, proving the point that Engaging Service works, I went from being a generally happy customer to being a brand advocate. Thanks, Fairmont!