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On a recent business trip, I saw a good example of how not to share customer feedback with the front lines. I was at my hotel when I happened to overhear a common workplace ritual, the “pre-shift pep talk.” I was checking in and being shown where the free continental breakfast would be served the next morning, and I noticed that the manager of this prominent business hotel had gathered the housekeeping staff in a semi-circle just to the side of the lobby. She was giving a speech to her staff about what it means to be ‘excellent’, and how they really needed to push themselves to go the extra mile to give their patrons the service that they deserved. She hit on all the current buzzwords of customer experience: ‘customer-centric’, ‘real-time responses’, ‘treat our guests as members of the family’ and so on.

First of all, this speech lost me when talking about family, since I would probably be much nicer to guests than to my own family. But where this motivational oration really lost its impact was the manager’s closer, “we have to get our satisfaction scores up from an average of 5 to at least a 6.” The pep talk, while good-intentioned, did not do anything to tell the housekeeping staff what to do. Was the score the result of sloppy hospital corners? Perceived unfriendliness? Was laundry not returned on time? I don’t know, and neither did the housekeeping staff.

So here you have staff who are no doubt well-intentioned and hard-working. They have no idea why the current customer satisfaction ratings are a “5”, and they certainly don’t know what role housekeeping has to play in that. Does the manager know why they have a “5”? Odds are, she didn’t. So here you have a single, theoretically “easy to understand” score that should drive all customer service efforts. Except that, no one really knows how they got to this score or what to do about it. So, we give full respect to the manager and front-line staff for caring, but how could they possibly know what they should do more, less or differently based on this intel?

You can see that satisfaction scores, NPS or customer effort scores are important to measure but they just aren’t enough. They can’t tell you why someone is unhappy, nor how much difference one area of the business may make versus another. Could it be booking, check-in, the noise, or the food? Might it be the website which has nothing to do with the front-line staff?

Not being able to connect the dots results in money, effort and time being spent to fix a problem but not improving for the future. In this case, it probably also added to the frustration of the staff who may care a lot about doing a good job, but not know what it is they should be doing more or differently. #CX #CustomerExperience


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