In Gonzalo's opinion, how has the customer experience management landscape evolved over the years?
What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution? Over the past two years, digital trends like chatbots and contactless payment options have been accelerated by the pandemic. As a result, the continuous improvement of mobile capabilities in our daily life has set customer expectations very high. The key advantage of the technological evolution is that we can engage much better with our customers across the entire guest journey, from the consideration and research phase to post-stay evaluation. This has great value in our industry, as we can provide better experiences and add more value to clients by leveraging the right capabilities. At Radisson Hotel Group, technology is a key tool for us, which is why we have created a customer experience-focused program called Radisson+. Radisson+ has allowed us to expand our online check-in and check-out options, add chatbot services powered with AI adapted to guests’ channel preferences, and integrate our customer engagement platform with our operating platform (PMS and other operating tools.)
What according to Gonzalo's are some of the challenges plaguing the customer experience management landscape and how can they be effectively mitigated?
I would say the two key challenges of the rapidly changing customer experience management landscape are 1) customers’ growing sense of immediacy. The use of engaging tools increases the need and expectation for an immediate response and action, and therefore increases the pressure on the team. Automating critical steps of the different customer journeys is key to ensure a smooth customer experience. 2) The second challenge is the seamless integration of these key tools across different core IT systems in our industry (CRM, PMS, CRS). At Radisson Hotel Group, we have invested heavily in developing a fully integrated platform called EMMA that enables us to respond to the aforementioned IT infrastructure challenge.
“The key advantage of the technological evolution is that we can engage much better with our customers across the entire guest journey, from the consideration and research phase to post-stay evaluation.”
Which are a few technological trends influencing customer experience management today?
What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors: Our focus has been on developing new digital experiences for our customers and guests by going the extra mile and offering meaningful advantages not only to our Loyalty members but all guests. For example, in the past we were offering certain benefits to only select guests, but we now realise that we need to expand this and offer key experiences to every single Radisson guest.
Does Gonzalo's have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the customer experience management space?
I would say the most valuable advice is to remain open and keep a close eye on best practices in other industries. For instance, Apple’s refreshing and simple way in which they have re-imagined the check-in/out process. Funnily enough, they looked at Four Seasons years ago to define the service experience. I would also recommend being humble enough to look at small operators and individual hotels that are doing a great job with regard to customer experience. Large hospitality companies can sometimes be quite rigid and only focused on the other big players. Flexibility and agility are key in this industry.