‘Shoppers’ can take the mystery out of guest services

Nov 17, 2009 5:01 PM

by Christine Newcombe, Special to GT |

The quality of guest service and the resulting financial benefits is no longer an elusive conversation between operations, finance, and human resources executives. A study conducted by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business has determined that companies ranking in the top 20% of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) greatly outperformed the stock market, resulting in a 40% return.

The value of guest service carries so much weight in a hotel/casino firm’s financial performance that it supersedes price promotions. Although pricing can be an effective short-term growth opportunity, it has been proven through ACSI’s research that price cutting is almost never sustainable in driving revenue growth.

Testing for quality of guest service is an ongoing process as new amenities become available in the marketplace, consumer’s satisfaction levels will fluctuate, possibly resulting in defection from your facility.

To best manage the changing tides of consumer sentiments that result in a firm’s favorable/unfavorable guest service satisfaction level, mystery shopping companies are best positioned to provide hospitality organizations with real time guest service analytics.

These reports can be highly effective in clearly grasping a hospitality organization’s guest service level of satisfaction as the reports can include statistical values comparing divisional performance, drilling down to manager performance, and linking back-of-house departments to the overall guest service satisfaction level.

Customer service satisfaction sovereignty is the business model that will help hospitality organizations survive the current economic times.

Start by focusing your company’s revenue model by recasting P&L into customer specific categories, thereby elevating the value of customer-centric experiences.

Then begin to monitor guest service standards property-wide to ascertain your base line guest service performance. Work with a mystery shopping firm that specializes in the casino hospitality industry to define your company’s desired guest service behaviors.

To further gather information as it relates to your customer service brand experience, request from your mystery shopping partner the creation of hierarchical grading of evaluation questions; restaurant, spa and hotel division evaluations benchmarked to Mobile & AAA standards; and the compilation of statistical data comparing hospitality divisions against one another’s guest service offering.

By repositioning your focus on revenue generation toward guest service satisfaction levels, the stellar stock market performance results as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) can be the competitive advantage that pays off in dividends for your hospitality organization.

Be aware that secret and mystery shoppers in Nevada are required to be licensed private investigators. And in Nevada, QSI Specialists is the leading, investigative agency for quality service inspection specialists and mystery shopping, for the gaming industry.

There is no question the results indicate guest service sovereignty is a proven revenue generator. Apply this knowledge to your organization and you too will be quoting Peter Drucker, the business management guru, "The only profit center is the customer."