You vs. The Competition

What separates you from your competition? Is your company eco-friendly? Does your company pay for you to give back to your community? Are you part of an improv group? What makes you or your company different from your competition?  Did you notice that I didn’t ask about your height or the company’s technology features?

Ask Steve Pinetti, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants  what separates him from other boutique, luxury hotels and it’s not the TV, the high speed Internet or the soft bed and towels. All his competitors have that. What separates Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is the focus on the customer. 

I was recently listening to a Blog Talk Radio customer experience interview by Lynn Hunsaker of ClearAction Customer Experience Optimization where she interviewed Steve and he focused on a few key points.

Steve and his employees focus on “How did we make you feel?” They want to know if they made you feel special and not just another guest. They will do everything they can to make you feel welcomed. One way they do this is by remembering your name when you check in, and later you’re seen in the hallway, they’ll actually say your name and not just hi. They make it personal.

He kept emphasizing that feelings based connections are very important. It goes back to the “how did we make you feel?” but it goes a bit deeper. Even if no one says your name, did you still feel comfortable? When you sign up for their loyalty program they ask specific questions about your likes. They feel as if they’ve met their goal of making you feel connected to them. If you say that you like Diet Coke and a fruit basket in your room and the drapes are open, they’ll do what they can to do that for you. It may cause a lot more work for their operations team, but it’s worth it to them.

Finally, think about what you’re offering your customers who sign up for a “special” program. By this, he meant have a loyalty program and not a point program for your customers. With their 1 million members, Kimpton Hotels does focus groups and actually asks their customers what they want rather than guessing what they want. They’ve found that points don’t really matter it’s the appreciation of the individual that makes the difference.  

About 60% of Kimpton’s first time customers come to them through word of mouth. Not a bad percentage when the average is 20-25%!  They’re clearly doing something right.

To hear the full interview and others interviews, check out Lynn’s Blog Talk Radio channel. 

What did you do today to make you or your company different from the competition?


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