Customer success story: Serving the Social Guest the Hyatt way

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1 The nature of the hotel industry is one where great service whether it be face-to-face or online is seen as a necessity and synonymous with the industry. Aside from your typical rewards programs and preferred guest offers, more companies are beginning to shift toward a customer service centric approach, building brand advocacy and loyalty. This has resulted in hotel companies recognizing social as a standard channel for customer support. Hyatt, the recent winner of the industry acclaimed Skiftie award for Best Social Media Customer Service, has always been seen as a market leader in this space. As an early adopter and continued innovator, we sat down with Dan Moriarty, Director of Social Strategy & Activation at Hyatt, to ask him about Hyatt s approach and what it truly means to be a company that is embracing #SocialFirst at scale: Request a demo today: conversocial.com socialfirst.com

2 Given that social is in the moment, how has social changed the way Hyatt deals with their customers? We think of hospitality as more than just in the moment. Hyatt is a company that s in the business of caring for people so they can be their best. So as a result, social customer service is a very natural extension of what we were already doing. We want to make our customers lives a little easier, when they re staying with us and beyond that. When we rolled it out, we got serious about offering social as a service channel; we did not have to change too much. We did not have to review internal processes, or really make strong case to do it, as it was such a natural extension of our business. The two areas we had to give a thought to were from an internal perspective: Technology: We couldn t use the same tools we had used in our original contact center to enable scalable social customer service. Skill set: We found that putting people on the social desk who have a natural social presence, who use social platforms in their spare time, tends to fit better. So we adjusted our hiring approach and the desired skill sets beyond the traditional customer service requirements for these roles as we grew our team. What surprises, or unexpected issues, did you encounter whilst implementing your social strategy? And what steps did you take to overcome these challenges? The single biggest change that we saw was the shift when you go toward a more proactive stance of social customer care. The single biggest change that we saw was the shift when you go toward a more proactive stance of social customer care. And what I mean by that is that is that instead of responding only to those or tag our social channels, which often meant they had a problem that needed solving, the past few years have been about proactively responding to anyone who mentions our brands with or without our social channels included. Now, the overwhelming number of conversations that came through Conversocial into our contact centers are actually incredibly positive. socialfirst.com

3 So what we had to think about is the changing nature of customer service, moving away from it just being a remedy for operational breakdown toward having the ability to talk to a guest and showing the people behind the brand. This represented a shift in our mentality to how do we take all this data and insight and make great stays even more amazing. We use some of the insights we gather from social to offer small, meaningful gestures to our guests that drive loyalty. What do you feel will be the biggest challenge to social customer service going forward? And how should companies overcome this? I think figuring out how we jump into platforms in a timely manner, making sure that we are not just responding but making the experience inside the hotel better for our guests. Two things that are top of mind for Hyatt: Platform expansion: A year ago, you could just be on Twitter and Facebook and you would have the social customer service bases covered. Now we are seeing, certainly for travel, Instagram as a much bigger opportunity for engagement. This is especially true when you take into the account the mental leap from just remedy to actually better caring for people by providing a more personalized experience. And then the other platform changes: Twitter removing character counts from private messages, Facebook messenger (which we have just integrated), and the continued growth of Snapchat. I think figuring out how we jump into platforms in a timely manner will continue to be a challenge, making sure that we are not just responding but making the experience inside the hotel better for our guests. A stronger connection into our existing CRM: Historically we have been a little bit stay focused, so when we have been engaging with a guest it has been on that current stay. But if I am a guest, and I tell you over Twitter I like soft pillows, I want you to remember this for my next stay...and the stay after that. We engage with hundreds of customers every day, so taking the nuggets from the conversations that matter and connecting them into our CRM system will be critical. This means it becomes more about the guest than a specific stay. socialfirst.com

4 As one brand begins to lead the way, or change the baseline of what good service looks like, what does that do from a competitive point of view? For us, there is so much happening in the hospitality space, and there is always the question about when do you react to it or when do we stay focused to your North Star. But for us it really is that idea again, we are in the business of caring for people, so for any innovation efforts, we all ask: does it better allow us to live what we do as a business? And if the answer is yes, we jump on it or add it to our offering and strategy. Do you engage with customer pre-sale? How are you finding the opportunity to engage and get more involved a customer s purchasing destination? Of course. We want to build long-term relationships with our customers, and that means engaging with them before, during and after their stay. We have the most opportunity to be relevant when they re with us, but by listening we continually find the right ways to care for them throughout the travel journey. A great example of one of my favorite cases of social customer service was when a guest at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place posted an Instagram picture of his partner s ultrasound. He must have been traveling for business, and his wife or partner had a picture of their unborn child that day. He put the picture up and tagged it into our hotel, saying something along the lines of Having a great time in Chicago but really wish I was back home with my wife for this special day. Normally we would never know about this, but now with social and with the ability to join in with this conversation, we saw it, quickly contacted the hotel, and within 20 minutes the hotel had sent a father-to-be kit: 4 craft beers, 4 different types of tasting bacon, a on-demand movie voucher, and a handwritten note congratulating him on the news. We have the most opportunity to be relevant when they re with us, but by listening we continually find the right ways to care for them throughout the travel journey. socialfirst.com

5 What advice do you have for other companies thinking of implementing social customer service? My number 1 piece of advice is just to start. The conversations are happening; therefore you have a choice of being a part of it or not being a part of it. Not being a part of it just doesn t make sense, it s not sustainable. The sooner you jump in the sooner you have a better sense of what s out there. I know it s a cliché but I think social customer care really is a great example of somewhere where you only learn by doing. Get started, hire the right talent, set a rough direction, but don t be too prescriptive. We give our team an overall focus, which is caring for people. And then trust them, don t give scripts, we really trust our people to do what needs to be done. We give them the tools and budget. A good team truly lays the foundations for success. How do you make sure senior management understand what it means to be social, understanding the benefits and know how to support you in the right way? We are incredibly lucky here that we have a natural leadership bias towards the work we are doing, given how closely it ties in with our purpose as a company. We don t do social customer care because there s an expectation to do social customer care, we do social customer care because it allows us to better care for our guests. We tend to be quite transparent with results. Putting together a KPI number around how we ve cared for our guests is hard, but you can show things like volume of conversations, response time, sentiment, issue resolution. So which hotel gets the most volume, which brand gets the most questions, any data point you can give is hugely important. Mix the qualitative with the quantitative and show examples of customer conversations. A member of my team creates a video of the best 3 or 4 social conversations that week that we share internally. This really showcases to senior management how we re bringing care to life for our guests and how we re driving overarching company purpose versus just having some fun on Twitter. My number 1 piece of advice is just to start. socialfirst.com

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