With the economic meltdown and the many sources available for online chronicling, companies must rebrand to win back consumer trust. A September 2009 article from BusinessWeek reports large corporations like AmEx must produce ads that resonate differently, that show they are not greedy villains but another entity that helps keep the American economy afloat. McDonalds is rebuilding their reputation by engaging animal rights’ groups and GreenPeace, offering healthier food alternatives, and even posting calories on their menus. In branding, trust is considered one of the most perishable assets, and without consumer trust, the company is bound to lose profit margins and market share. Recent polls show more consumers are growing distrustful not only of banks, but businesses as a whole. Job insecurity and battered home values are making consumers less inclined to be the spendthrifts they once were, so maintaining trust and a positive customer experience is a vital part of keeping your business alive today.
Hospitality Industry Too?
In the hospitality industry, during the economic collapse, the loss of staff and diminishing product value have lowered performance standards. Hospitality news source 4hoteliers.com reports that in the early period of the current recovery state, the key is to rebrand and regain trust. A guest who no longer spends freely in your hotel or restaurant has become keener, so as an operator, you must look at the message you are communicating with your brand: What are you saying? What expectations are you creating? Remember, you must be honest, as savvy spenders know better, and if you cannot relay realistic expectations, they will look elsewhere.
Engage Your Staff:
As an operator in the hospitality industry, regaining trust begins with boosting morale within your staff. Keep in mind they’ve seen shifts taken, friends and family laid off, and benefits reduced, yet they’re still expected to perform at the highest levels. As an operator, engage your staff, bring them into the “conversation, the process and rewards.” Get suggestions from them, give them more accountability, and shower them with reasonable praise. Your willingness to get them involved and your respect toward them is important.
Expectations for the Guest Experience:
What about the GUEST EXPERIENCE? It all winds down to the quality of your staff and the expectations created by your brand. Continued training of staff is a worthy investment. Also, there are many sources of information these days, especially online, and everyone is a critic, but don’t dismiss them so quickly. Be sure to assess all remarks you receive as they’ll give you a better picture of your demographic and their expectations from your marketing, and you can see if what they receive from you is a good value. It is important to know your guests’ expectations, and be realistic in what you can provide for them. Don’t rely solely on the suggestion box, but be willing to do some research from outside sources. This is how you will best evolve.
Trust: Your Own and the Guest’s:
Trust your instincts, trust your brand, and be honest in what you can provide. Your guests aren’t dumb. They know renovations had to be put off and that some amenities have been downgraded because they’ve experienced it as well. But they still expect diligence and value and a positive guest experience, so make sure you are not offering something that you cannot provide today. If you show interest in adapting to your guests’ expectations, then they too will want you to succeed. If you regain their trust, they are bound to come back.
Read the BusinessWeek article here.
Read the 4hoteliers article here.