Big wins from simple communications

Big wins don't require big investments. Sometimes, the simplest things can improve your customer reviews. And the fact that many businesses overlook this gives you an opportunity to stand out. I travel a lot. Most often, I keep tabs on my plans, but I prefer to forget the details. This week, I made a mistake. I booked a hotel room when someone had already made a reservation for me—at another hotel. Oops.

Turns out that the hotel I DIDN'T check in to last night had a 48 hours cancellation policy and has billed me accordingly. My bad, but I couldn't help but point out how one simple tweak to their process would have saved the time and cost.

If you subscribe to a lot of online services and applications, you'll be used to receiving billing notifications in advance of the subscription fees being charged to your account. A simple email gives you the opportunity to cancel the $15/ month charge if you no longer need the service.

Why, then, do hotels not provide the same notification the day before their cancellation policy kicks in? For a two nights stay, that could save me over $1,000. Or give them three days chance to fill the room if I change my plans.

Building more customer communication like this into your process is dead simple. Any booking system can generate emails for about, well, $0.01. One night at the hotel would pay for 50,000 of those.

If I ever see such a service, you can bet I'll mention it here and pass on the hotel's name to my friends.

Examine your customer process

Grab a napkin and scribble the process your customers have to follow to do business with you. Now:

  1. Scratch out the steps that you can save them.
  2. Put an asterisk next to each step that you would want to be reminded of—IN THEIR SHOES.

If you've cut out more than a couple of steps for answer #1, you'll likely have to assign the work to someone and kick off some projects.

But each asterisk for #2 is easy—don't let anyone tell you otherwise. How soon can you make that happen?

... and if you missed these related articles, go back and take another look:

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