The Formula to Legendary Customer Experiences

Soft pillows, check. Ocean view, check. Little bath soaps that make me smell like Ron Burgundy’s apartment, check. Chocolate, woah… okay, check. Champagne, are you sure this is our room? Handwritten postcards from the staff. Are you serious? ALL THE CHECKS!!

That’s what my girlfriend and I walked into during a recent stay at Hotel La Jolla, a Kimpton hotel. And all of this happened within the span of three tweets.

I recently sat down with Kimpton’s Social Media Manager Whitney Smith to better understand their approach to customer service and how they manage to consistently deliver at every customer touchpoint.

Turns out, it’s a rather simple formula — as many great ones are. Throughout the day, no matter where you are: at a physical location, on social media, over the phone, via email etc., Kimpton is going to do all they can to appreciate you. The ultimate goal is to have a ‘Kimpton Moment.’

What is a Kimpton Moment?

It’s a ridiculously personal experience between you and another person.” If you check any of their social feeds, you’ll see that Kimpton Moments are happening every single day across the country. Many of these are powered through social.

  • A team of social agents monitor the social web almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week assisting customers, posting content, and looking for potential Kimpton Moments.
  • When a potential Kimpton Moment is found, the social team gathers as much information as they can without prying.
  • The Kimpton Moment is then routed down to the property level where the property takes the contextual information provided and comes up with the ridiculously personal experiences that many guests encounter.

Kimpton takes a common social theme — real-time empowerment of employees to make a difference — and expands it across the entire org.

Kimpton takes a common social theme — real-time empowerment of employees to make a difference — and expands it across the entire org.

“Employees are encouraged to take an idea and run with it. No matter what it is,” Whitney said. “If the director of housekeeping at a property wants to begin managing their property’s social channels, we give them the tools and training to do it.” [That really happened.]

“If a guest is missing the series finale of Breaking Bad because we don’t carry AMC, the local front office manager is empowered to decide that this guest needs a reservation at a local bar that’s having a watch party,” she continued. “While the guest is out, a ridiculously personal Walter White amenity is delivered to the guest’s room… ‘rock’ candy included.” [That also, really happened.]

Social media has always been a channel to share, inquire about, and understand experiences. A recent shift — and one that I believe Kimpton is defining — is beginning to take shape on the brand side of social: the ability to help craft and manage these experiences for your customers.

A recent shift…is beginning to take shape on the brand side of social: the ability to help craft and manage these experiences for your customers.

However, customer experiences don’t have to be on the level of a ridiculously personal experience. They can include small things such as noticing particular interests from previous posts and weaving that into the conversation, connecting like-minded individuals, or even just addressing someone by name when speaking with them.

The guiding principle Whitney and her team base their interaction strategy on (which can be adopted regardless of vertical, organization or team): Care is key.

The act of travel, at times can be faceless, uncomfortable, foreign (literally and figuratively), and stressful. Kimpton strives to make you feel at home when you’re with them. Your home, with all your preferences. This goes a long way to creating brand loyalists. They’ve got two more after my recent stay at Hotel La Jolla.

 

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Image credit: BVDC / 123RF Stock Photo

Justin Macauley is solutions consultant at Sprinklr. Originally from Los Angeles, Justin graduated from the University of Colorado in 2011 -- Go Buffs! He's an avid soccer player, dog owner, sports enthusiast and loves to travel. He's passionate about helping brands maintain, and in some cases refocus their social media efforts on the platform of being human. Life isn't about being up to code -- it's about far exceeding it.

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