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Stay in a hotel for the first time, and you never know quite what to expect. You won’t know whether the room will be too small, the noise from the street too loud, the pillow too hard. You don’t know whether the staff will be friendly and helpful or cold and distant. You don’t know whether the breakfast the next morning will serve your toast exactly the way you like it.
Stay in a good hotel for the second time, and you should have none of those worries. The receptionist should be able to greet you not just with a smile but by name. The pillow will have exactly the hardness you like, and the toast in the breakfast delivered to your door on time the following morning will contain exactly the level of brownness you expect.
That’s customer experience and it’s a strategy that’s been used by hotels for a number of years to build loyalty. The more times a customer stays with the hotel, the more data the hotel can collect about their preferences, improving the experience and making a decision to stay elsewhere harder.
For a hotel, the stages of that customer experience are clear, as are the facilities that create that experience. From booking and confirmation to preparation and arrival, the hotel has multiple opportunities to engage with the customer. Each engagement reinforces the idea that the customer is not just a guest in a room but an individual with their own interests, and each contact is a chance to offer creative content. So in 2012, the Sheraton Bratislava greeted travel blogger Rebecca Adler Rotenberg with more than the usual chocolate on a preferred pillow. Next to the bed was an album of Instagram images showing the city’s sites and a handwritten note that read: “As we know that Jennifer loves to take Instagram pictures, we thought you’d enjoy this hand-picked selection of 25 of our most favorite shots of Bratislava…;)”
It’s that kind of individual care, part of a content strategy based on customer data drawn from a range of different sources, that builds a customer experience.
But it’s not just hotels that can create this kind of personalized content strategy for its customers. HMOs do the same thing. The people waiting in ER with bleeding fingers and bad coughs are users but the patients who return with chronic conditions have appointments, data and clear lines of communications. They’re customers… and if the hospital, the health insurer or the HMO can give them a positive experience as well as effective treatment, they’ll recommend that service to others. So the A.C. Carmago Cancer Center, for example, turned the children’s ward into a superhero room in which chemotherapy bags were branded as “Superformula” and hidden inside special boxes decorated with superhero logos. Specially-drawn comics explained how superheroes used their formula to regain their strength, turning a frightening experience for children and their parents into an easier one they’ll remember.
From places you want to stay to places you want to avoid, the tools are available in just about every industry to build a content strategy to improve the customer experience.
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