Your Customers, Do You Really Know Them?

By Azleen Abdul Rahim

Ms Azleen Abdul Rahim. I guess I am not the only guy in this world ‘enjoying’ this. A few months back, I went to this lovely hotel located in Malacca. It is the most respectable hotel in Malacca and some says that it is one of the best hotel in Malaysia and being rated highly in all online hotel booking websites globally. The owner is the same owner as the Hard Rock chain in the ASEAN countries. Yup, the pricing rate is quite on the high side too, but again the experience of staying and enjoying a few nights there is priceless. But this time, my visit was slightly spoiled by this welcome note.

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Grrr.. I was a bit upset but as a gentleman, I am still cool about this. I just made a small friendly complaint to the front desk manager and everything settled amicably. Let see whether this thing will occur again or not.

From my gut feeling, it will happen again. Being a Malaysian, I do not have a high hope or expectation in the customer service as far as the Malaysian market is concerned. Right from the hospitality industry, telecommunications, broadcasting, transportations, utilities, educations right up to the healthcare. Almost all industries in Malaysia, on my personal note, needs a lot of work to do and lots of areas to be improved on, as far as the customer service is concerned. All of them deserves 1 (one) star rating out of five (5). Really bad.

Check this out. I was writing this article in a well-known hotel in Batu Feringghi, Penang. Pretty awesome hotel, white in colour with lots of trees and beach front location. Guest what, their mistakes are even worse. Just take a look at this image of my room key cards folder. Ms Azleen Abdul Rahman.

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In the name of customer service, the above scenario is indeed a serious tragedy. An avoidable tragedy. I mean, seriously.

Here are my suggestion to you to really avoid this mistakes made by other people.

  1. Start to deploy a Customer Relationship Management or CRM System. Please dedicate a team for this. CRM will help you to, not only remember all data related to customers correctly, but also systematically. From their personal details background, their transaction and payment history, their suggestions made, your planned interactions with them and many more. In short, once you key in a name like Azleen Abdul Rahim into your CRM, every single information about me that relates to your organisation will be popped-out in a single screen. This is made easy because all the data are being put centrally and accessed by every department within the organisation. With everyone’s contribution to the information about Azleen, the customer service team is able to access an accurate, updated and detail information in one single screen. This is the main secret of what they called a First-Call-Resolution, meaning if let say I call your organisation and complaint, everything can be solved in just one call instead of my call being transferred to many places and make me my level of pissed going up. Easy isn’t it? You bet it is.
  2. Stop that corporate email and start to deploy a Social Media team instead. When the above incidents happened to me, the first thing I would do is to get hold of these hotel folks using my Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and complaint to them right to their faces. I would target at least a manager or senior manager level to bring this matter up and ensure that it won’t happen again. I’m not going to use an email because I’m sure they won’t take my complaint seriously. Their ‘lip service’ may say so but in reality they are not. Unless, if the email is directly to the General Manager itself. On the other hand, by having a presence in social media actively, customers like me are able to interact with the hotels right people real-time. It is not only safe a lot of my precious time spent on this, but also the hotel management will take my complaint seriously. Why? Easy, because the whole world is watching them how they respond to my complaint. With the help of CRM system, the social media team is able to get access to my information right in front of him or her. Once the CRM is updated with my complaint, the data will be shared directly to the respective department at the back there for clarification and improvements. On the other note, social media is more interactive, personalised and mobile-friendly too. I am sure you want to have a kick-ass branding, don’t you?
  3. Cooperative and supportive back-office team. With the CRM system initiative in place, every single department needs to play ball with it. By updating every single information about Azleen being a guest in your hotel, it will make your customer-facing team like the social media, customer service and front-desk teams’ life easier.
  4. Image, Pictures and Videos. With CRM system in place, you can easily attached a picture there, or even a video that one of your customers had his or her wedding reception there. Anything. Human brains tend to work better with images, so at least if you put my picture right by the side of my name perhaps you could truly avoid any further mistakes that makes me upset.

If you are very serious about keeping up with the global standard of the customer service version of it, then you need to seriously considering to deploy a CRM system. Do not make the same mistakes as the rest of the brands do. Less mistakes will positively contribute towards your brand success. Trust me.

Again. My name is Azleen Abdul Rahim and I am a guy.