Last Best Experiences: How Self-Service Tools Empower Customers
When it comes to rating our experiences as a customer, everything is relative.
Consider, for example, a recent vacation. Imagine your last hotel experience offered a clean room and ample surface lot parking, but it followed a stay at another hotel that provided complimentary drinks at the bar and free valet service. While both would be considered good experiences, truly exceptional experiences—like the second hotel—tend to stick out in our minds long after the initial engagement is over. And they can quickly become the last best experience by which we judge every other brand that follows.
For Biplab Mandal, Executive Vice President and Microsoft Practice Lead at Avtex, a recent trip to Las Vegas provided just such an experience when he stayed at Caesars Palace.
What Happened During Biplab’s Experience with Caesars Palace?
Biplab’s last best experience started when his flight touched down in Las Vegas. As soon as he exited the plane, and before he stepped foot in the hotel, Biplab logged into the Caesars Palace guest app where he was able to check into his room remotely. When he arrived in the hotel lobby, the app then guided him to the nearest available room key kiosk. In just a matter of minutes he was on his way to his hotel room—again guided by a helpful in-app map that showed him the fastest route.
Throughout his stay, the Caesars Palace app continued to curate a seamless, contactless experience. He was able to order food for in-room delivery with just a few taps. And on check-out day, it allowed him to review all his bills and settle his outstanding accounts quickly, without needing to interact with hotel staff. After dropping off his key card in one of the lobby kiosks, he was back on his way to the airport—with plenty of time to spare.
Do you have a last best experience you are dying to share?
What Made This Experience Stand Out?
From start to finish, the in-app experience at Caesars Palace put Biplab in control of his trip. By offering remote check in and kiosk key card service, Caesars Palace saved Biplab valuable time and unnecessary stress from the moment he arrived. As a result, he was able to focus on making the most of his vacation experience—not on navigating the trip itself.
Beyond the obvious convenience and time-saving aspects of the app experience, the Caesars Palace app also demonstrated a deep understanding of its guests’ expectations and even predicted where points of friction might emerge during their stay. In a large, sprawling property like Caesars Palace, the in-app building maps and room-service ordering feature prevented guests from struggling to find their way around an unfamiliar hotel and eliminated the potential for this type of experience to create guest frustration.
It is very important, in the services industry, that companies focus on what customers want to buy versus what we want to sell.Biplab Mandal, EVP and Microsoft Practice Lead at Avtex
How Self-Service Tools Empower Customers to Personalize Their Journey
More than ever before, customers expect to have the ability to resolve issues on their own—especially when the alternative is long lines at the customer service desk. Successfully supporting this modern self-reliant customer requires a deeper understanding of the types of experiences customers would like to handle themselves and where they still expect high-touch, personal interactions.
In the digital era, new digital channels are available that can help serve as the hub for more frictionless customer journeys. By integrating self-service tools—such as apps and chatbots—into an omnichannel strategy, many leading brands are beginning to let their customers decide what level of interaction they want to receive. In this example, a self-service app allowed Biplab to tailor his hotel experience and select the level of engagement he wanted throughout is stay. In retail, self-service tools can help customers shop online and create a faster product pickup experience. In healthcare, they can speed pre-appointment wait times and simplify patient check in.
What separates simple multi-channel experience strategies from truly game-changing omnichannel strategies, however, is the ability to move seamlessly between channels and proactively escalate the level of touch to align with the issue at hand. By pairing a deep understanding of customer expectations with true omnichannel engagement, organizations can better react to customers needs as they change and deliver the highly personalized experiences that leave them saying, “wow.”