Key elements of a closed-loop guest feedback strategy
So you have a guest experience feedback program in place; you're sending out guest surveys check out and analyzing the feedback data that's being collected.
Do you have everything in place to make sure you take proper action on that feedback?
What do we mean by "proper action"? Well, we look at feedback data in 2 ways; micro and macro-- our geekspeak for feedback specific to an individual guest (micro) and feedback that is relatable to your operation (macro). For the most part, a guest's feedback is always worthy of both the macro and micro viewpoint.
Examples of micro-only would be a guest who commented during their survey that; (a) they lost their wedding ring sometime during their stay, or (b) was delighted that the bath amenities included their favorite brand of body wash. These are micro-data points that are unlikely to inform operational action items.
Alright, so where does that fit in with a closed-loop feedback strategy? First, let's make sure we're on the same page with regard to the meaning of closed-loop feedback. We consider closing the feedback loop to be reaching out directly to an individual guest after they've provided feedback. It could be about solving a specific problem they raised in their feedback (helping locate the wedding ring in the example above), trying to get more understanding of their comments, simply acknowledging their effort and time in providing feedback, or something else. This "closing the loop" contact is what we consider essential proper action for micro data and it serves to nurture the individual relationship you have with your guest.
Of course, the feedback you collect from each guest has macro implications, but the "proper action" on that data is a discussion for another time.
The mechanics of closing the loop
Not every guest who provides feedback via a guest experience survey wants (or needs) a direct personalized contact afterwards. So it's important to have a procedure in place to efficiently sort this out. Some points to consider:
- Who on your team will reach out to guests who need that contact (and perhaps it's different team members depending on the specifics of a guest's feedback)?
- What is the goal in turn-around time on closing the loop. Especially for problem-solving, timeliness is crucial. The faster you reply, the more likely you may be able to solve a guest's problem AND the less likely a guest's negative experience will also show up in an online review somewhere.
- Which guests only require a simple follow-up "thank you for your time and feedback" to close the feedback loop?
- Do you want to give your guests some control over how the loop gets closed by providing an in-survey easy "contact me" mechanism?
Use the right tool for the job
At the end of the day, all of the top-tier guest experience feedback platform companies have the tools and know-how to properly integrate a closed-loop feedback system into hospitality businesses of any size and scale. On the other hand, simpler survey tools and survey add-ons to email marketing platforms or property management software generally do not do this as well. There are, however, good integrations available between guest experience feedback platforms and PMS and email marketing software.
One last thing...
There's another separate feedback loop that needs to be closed- that is online reviews. Each hospitality business has to figure out who and where the ownership of this task resides within the organization and what reputation management tools might be used. But, be clear about this- this is a distinct feedback loop- but one that certainly can (and should) be affected by the action taken on the main guest experience program feedback.