How to Cater to International Guests

You should be ready for your guests, wherever they’re visiting from.

In 2022, there were over 917 million international tourists worldwide. That’s still below pre-pandemic levels, however, it’s also double the number of travelers from the year before.

In 2021, America saw 22 million visitors. Not all of the data is available yet but in July 2022 alone, over 5 million people came to the U.S.

It’s important that we make sure every single tourist that visits feel welcome.

International travelers often face a range of challenges like language barriers, new customs, and cultural differences.

It’s important to be prepared. Hotels can help with these problems by providing services and amenities designed to cater to the needs of international travelers – it just takes some planning ahead. Here are a few…

1. Multilingual staff

One of the biggest challenges that international travelers face is the language barrier. Hotels can help overcome this by employing multilingual staff. They can help international travelers with everything from check-in and check-out to room service and restaurant reservations. By speaking the language of their guests, staff can help international travelers feel more comfortable and at home.

In addition to multilingual staff, hotels can also offer translation services. This can include translating important documents such as passports and visas, as well as translating menus, hotel information, and local guides.

2. Concierge

Concierge services can be a great resource for international travelers. A good concierge can offer recommendations on local attractions, restaurants, and events. They can also help with booking reservations, purchasing tickets, and arranging transportation. Concierge services can help international travelers make the most of their trip by providing insider knowledge and local expertise.

3. Currency Exchange

Currency exchange can be a major headache. Hotels can help by offering exchange services. This will help guests avoid the hassle of finding a currency exchange office and can also help them get a better exchange rate.

Giving your guests an essential resource, and making it easier for them to use, is a great way to ensure they’re happy.

4. Wi-Fi

Access to Wi-Fi is essential for international travelers. Hotels can help by offering free Wi-Fi access to their guests. This can help international travelers stay in touch with friends and family back home, as well as stay connected with work or business obligations. Wi-Fi access can also help international travelers research local attractions.

5. International Power Outlets

Different countries use different types of power outlets. So just imagine entering a new country and realizing that none of your cables work. Hotels can help by providing international power outlets in the rooms. That way travelers can charge their phones, laptops, and other devices without needing to bring an adapter or having to run to the nearest store.

You can also purchase items like lamps that have USB charging ports in them.

5 Ways to Listen and Learn How Your Customers Really Feel

Practice these listening tips at your organization to clearly understand how your customers feel and what they expect.

Do you feel like your organization or brand really listens to your customers? Upon closer inspection, you may be surprised to find that many of your customers might not agree.

Today’s consumers want “more genuine, human listening,” according to “2023 Global Consumer Trends,” a global consumer report from Qualtrics XM Institute. Qualtrics surveyed more than 33,000 consumers across 29 countries on what businesses must do to win their loyalty.

“People want companies to listen more — and that doesn’t mean just sending more surveys,” says the Qualtrics report. “They want companies to really listen. That means tapping into omnichannel listening and new tools like video feedback to get a better understanding of how people feel, so you can respond in the right ways.”

“It’s important to actively listen to customers and analyze their feedback so you can correct big issues that are causing customer churn,” advises customer experience, sales and marketing software company HubSpot.

Listening to your customers doesn’t mean that your ears perk up only when they’re telling you about their issues or concerns, either.

“Listening to customers is about connecting with them,” says HubSpot. “It involves paying close attention to their needs and understanding how you can help them achieve their goals.”

How your organization benefits by truly listening

Listening to your organization’s customers has the following benefits, according to HubSpot:

  • Reduce customer churn caused by poor customer service
  • Boost customer loyalty
  • Increase customer retention
  • Identify Upsell and cross-sell opportunities
  • Create interactions that delight customers

Here are five ways that your company or organization can listen more effectively to learn how your customers truly feel.

1. Don’t talk over the customer

Customer service agents can’t listen to and learn from your customers if they insist on dominating the conversation themselves.

“In order to truly listen, your reps need to remain silent until the customer has finished explaining their problem,” says HubSpot.

“Even if they already know the solution, interrupting them makes your team look impatient. It’s better to wait until the customer is done speaking as you never know what information they may have that could alter the case.”

2. Be patient

Customers who are frustrated with a piece of equipment, product or technology can try a customer service rep’s patience. The caller might even speak rudely out of irritation.

“In these instances, it’s important for reps to keep their cool and remain humble,” says HubSpot. “Remember, there was a time where they were just as new to the product and they probably felt just as lost when they had questions. Every question is significant, so your team needs to value each one equally, no matter how well the case is going.”

3. Communicate via customers’ preferred channels

To better listen to customers, your team should have in-depth knowledge about and an understanding of your customer base, says HubSpot:

“For example, if you’re targeting a millennial audience, you may find that social media is their preferred communication channel. So, you can assign reps to your social media accounts to field questions that customers may pose. That way, you’ll reduce friction in the customer’s experience by meeting them on a channel they’re already using.”

4. Practice active listening

Rather than customer service reps constructing their next statement as a customer tells them about an issue, the agent should focus only on what the customer is saying, advises HubSpot. Then repeat the problem back to the customer to show them that the rep understands the problem or situation and is invested in resolving the issue.

5. Be emotionally intelligent

“For reps to be timely with their solutions, they need to pay attention to the person as well as the problem,” says HubSpot. “They need to be emotionally intelligent and determine how the customer will react to different responses at various times. This will help them give advice that the customer will feel they can trust.”

Avoiding Beginner Mistakes as a New Manager

Even when management is the long-term goal, switching into that role isn’t easy.

I work for a company that prides itself on upward mobility. That means that I’ve worked for a lot of managers of a lot of different experience levels.

Switching into a management role may come naturally for some, but for most, switching out of the worker mindset comes with some difficulty. The good news is that lots have done it, and there is a lot to learn from those past experiences. Common mistakes like failing to set a good example for your employees, not providing appropriate feedback, and micromanaging can be easy to avoid if the work is put in to do so.

Be a role model

Even though a manager is no longer in the role of a worker, they still need to display all of the traits that they want to see from the people who work for them. A manager should not ask their employees to be anything that the manager is unwilling to be themselves.

When it comes to being a role model, think less about the work that’s being done itself. Instead, think of traits like punctuality, professionalism, and passion.

The manager sets the work environment. A passionate manager will encourage passion in their employees. Professionalism in a manager will encourage professionality in their employees.

Further, communicating openly with employees as a manager will pave the road to facilitating better communication all around. That’s key to getting the feedback needed to improve.

Managers should also encourage their workers and be supportive of them.

As a new manager, it’s important to keep in mind that employees are looking to you for leadership now.

Give and get feedback

Giving feedback is something that might slip through the cracks when a new manager is just moving up from the worker role.

New managers may not be used to having to give employees feedback, so it’s often forgotten. But letting employees know how they’re doing, the good and the bad, is an essential part of the communication between manager and employee.

Regular one-on-one meetings with employees can be a good way to get a dialogue going, and it’s helpful to have time allotted to learn more about each employee’s goals and needs, as well as to get feedback as a manager.

However, a manager shouldn’t wait for a meeting to give feedback. It’s important to take advantage of teaching moments as they come, for several reasons.

There’s no reason to wait to make changes for the better. For one, if a manager waits to bring up a mistake that the employee made for a later time, it may be irrelevant by then. Secondly, the mistake may get made several times over before it’s brought up at that point.

Saving negative feedback all for one meeting can lead to undue stress, too.

Instead, practice instructing employees to fix their mistakes as they come up. Rather than presenting it as negative feedback, managers can use the opportunity to help their employees learn.

It’s just as important for managers to be able to receive feedback, too.

Being able to take constructive criticism graciously will allow employees to feel more comfortable coming to their managers with problems. And those problems would go unresolved if the manager was never made aware of them.


A manager’s primary role is to delegate tasks to their employees.

At times, it may feel easier to get something done yourself rather than explain how it’s done so that someone else can do it, or you may enjoy completing the task yourself.

However, it’s vital for a manager to prioritize their tasks appropriately so that they can get everything done, and it’s important for employees to be given the opportunity to learn.

Barring the employee from that opportunity by completing the task themselves can come across as micromanagement.

Proper delegation gives employees the autonomy they like while freeing up the manager’s schedule to complete other high-priority tasks.

When you’re new to management, or even just working with a new set of employees, starting out can be nerve-wracking.

One trait that can help one to best achieve all the goals outlined here is good self-confidence.

Many of the issues I’ve had with managers have stemmed from their lack of self-confidence. Problems like seeing new ideas as personal attacks, refusing to share new information, and taking over a task from an employee all stem from a lack of self-esteem.

No one likes managers who are full of themselves either, but a manager with true self-esteem will be able to accept criticism and make improvements, as well as guide their employees confidently.

4 Ways to Hypnotize Guests with Consumer Psychology for a Memorable Experience

Knowing how potential and current customers think when it comes to purchase choices and guest service helps your business offer a better guest experience.

Have you ever wondered why a consumer bypasses purchasing one product or brand for another? Consumer psychology is likely at the root of most buying decisions.

Consumer psychology explains why people make some purchases but skip others, taking into account “internal psychological factors” and “external social persuasion,” says inbound marketing expert HubSpot,” which lists the following examples of consumer psychology:

  • How customers choose to purchase from brands
  • Thoughts and emotions behind consumer decisions
  • Motivations for choosing one product over another
  • How consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by outside factors such as culture, media and friends and family
  • How brands can utilize findings about consumer behavior to provide a better customer experience

“One area of business where consumer psychology truly shines is customer service,” says HubSpot. “When you have a solid understanding of how your customer thinks and behaves, it’s much easier to provide the service and support that wows them.”

What is customer service psychology?

“Customer service psychology is where you and your operators try to understand customer behavior or how they may react in a certain situation,” according to customer support software provider ProProfs. “This knowledge of customer behavior helps you come across various solutions and equips your business to serve them better.

“It is important for your operators to reflect on their behavior during an ongoing support process,” according to customer support software provider ProProfs. “That’s because it becomes a deciding factor to shape the customer’s behavior towards your brand and whether they’ll return or not.”

Is your brand ready to improve your customer experience by using customer psychology?

Here are four tips for putting customer psychology to use for happier customers.

1. Create an emotional investment connection

Showing consumers the “why” and “how” of what your brand offers and what’s important to your company is key to getting new customers and gaining customer loyalty, says HubSpot, which recommends keeping your brand’s “story” for customers brief and straightforward but ensuring it inspires consumers to patronize your business.

“When consumers get to know you as a brand and learn what you stand for, and when they develop trust in who you are and what you do, they’re more likely to stay loyal and tell their friends about you,” says HubSpot.

2. Understand customer needs through direct feedback

To find out your customers’ needs and expectations and attract new customers, ask for their feedback on pain points, using customer surveys and asking for online reviews, recommends HubSpot:

Most (98 percent) consumers surveyed read online reviews for local businesses, and 49 percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from others, according to “Local Consumer Review Survey,” a report from advertising agency BrightLocal.

“Positive testimonials will influence others to buy,” says HubSpot. “Of course, when you receive negative feedback, provide a friendly and empathetic response. One of your customer’s needs is to feel heard even if you don’t like what they’re saying.”

3. Connect through social media

“Social media has become one of the major factors of business visibility, so you shouldn’t avoid this communication channel when interacting with your customers,” says the BrightLocal report.

“Not only will you make it more convenient for them to reach out to you, but you’ll also get a chance to create a stronger bond as you’ll be interacting with them in a more relaxed way.”

4. Respond to customer concerns quickly

Customers dislike being forced to wait on hold or for a response from your brand, especially if they’re already frustrated and irritable, says HubSpot, which recommends providing enough customer service agents and channels for support.

“Proactively keeping customers satisfied with a fully staffed service department is a smarter, less expensive way to reduce churn,” says HubSpot. “Otherwise, you could shell out much more in refunds, returned products, and lost business due to poor reviews.”

6 Coffee Shop Trends to Watch in 2023

From “healthy” coffees to popular brewing methods, consumers expect the latest beverage trends at their local coffee shop.

The coffee shop industry is “steadily recovering” from the pandemic, and it’s not just the big chains that are finally on better footing, according to restaurant software provider Toast.

Coffee shop chain sales grew by 10 percent from June 2021 to June 2022, with Starbucks and Dunkin’ continuing to make up a significant market share in the U.S., But the number of independent coffee shops and cafes are on the rise, serving as “cornerstones of their communities,” says Toast.

Nearly 30 percent of consumers surveyed prefer traditional coffee, and 22 percent said they drank espresso-based coffee-based beverages such as macchiatos, straight espresso, cappuccinos, lattes and Americanos, says toast.

In 2023, Coffee shops must design their coffee and tea drinks to meet shifting consumer demands, according to digital marketing strategy company Linchpin.

“Consumers can buy brain-enhancing energy drinks, molecular cocktail creations, and zero-alcohol beverage options. “The coffee and tea industry can keep up with these trends by embracing coffee and tea trends. Lovers of coffee and tea are ready for new ideas.”

To stay on top of coffee shop trends, check out the following top trends for 2023.

1. Online ordering

“Customers quickly grew to love the convenience of ordering and paying for their coffee drinks (and maybe a little pastry) on their phones as they leave the house, and showing up to the cafe ready to grab their order and go — COVID or not — so online ordering has taken hold,” says Toast.

2. Plant-based alternatives

Half-and-Half and skim or whole milk remain customer favorites. But non-dairy alternatives such as oat milk and almond milk are gaining in popularity, says Toast:

“Milk alternatives have exploded in popularity in recent years. Requests for plant-based milk have become ubiquitous, whether it’s due to lactose intolerance, a preference to avoid dairy consumption, or veganism. And some consumers just prefer the taste of non-dairy milk to cow’s milk.”

3. “Healthy coffees”

Consumers now expect coffee shops to offer proprietary blends of coffee that support good health. “Varieties like mushroom coffee and matcha lattes are standard,” says Linchpin. “Most dedicated coffee shops offer combinations that increase gut health, boost metabolism, and support the immune system.”

4. Snapchilled coffee

Snapchilling cools freshly brewed coffee rapidly to extract more flavor and appealing aromas than the cold-brewing process for chilled coffee and tea beverages, says Linchpin:

“Snapchilled coffee doesn’t take as long to make as cold-brewed, and you don’t need to dilute the coffee by adding ice cubes. This trend is becoming more common in coffee and tea shops everywhere.”

5. Generous tippers

“People are still tipping generously to help service workers make ends meet,” says Toast. “In the current economic climate, where cost of living is so much more expensive than it once was, hospitality patrons who can afford paying a slightly bigger tip — especially if it helps keep the workers at their favorite businesses safe, housed, and fed — are continuing to do so.”

6. Instant coffee variations

Not to be confused with instant coffee from the grocery store, instant coffee beverages similar to Korean dalgona coffee (popularized in the Netflix series Squid Game) and Greek frappes are more popular than before the pandemic.

“Coffee shops rarely, if ever, sell plain instant coffee — instead, they whip it with sugar to create frothy, creamy, sweet iced or hot coffee beverages,” says Toast.

6 Ways to Offer Concierge Service That Makes Your Hotel Stand Out From Competitors

Offering the right kind of concierge services can sway guests to book at your hotel again instead of the hotels across the street.

If your hotel has a concierge or a concierge team, you’re already a step ahead of many competing hotels. Or maybe your hotel is in the process of researching concierge services before you hire a concierge, which puts your brand in the perfect position to hire a concierge that’s best suited to the job of helping guests have a seamless and memorable stay.

Even budget hotels can offer a mobile “smart” concierge to offer guests a luxury stay even at a modest hotel, says hospitality software provider Hotefy.

Here are six tips from Hotefy for providing concierge service that brings guests back to your hotel instead of booking with your competitors.

1. Understand your clientele

“It’s important to know your customers so you can offer them added extras, convenience, and speed ordering room service from one of the best concierge apps,” says Hotefy. By understanding fully who your guests are, it’s easier to tailor your concierge service.”

For example, if your moderately priced hotel caters mainly to business clients, the concierge will likely be more focused on making dinner reservations and arranging transportation than on purchasing sightseeing tickets for guests.

To improve your hotel’s concierge services, look up previous guests’ data, watch for common queries and demands advises online hotel management system eZee Absolute.

The data will provide a better understanding of shifting guest preferences and enable the concierge and hotel staff to be prepared to answer or resolve common guest questions and offer suggestions for things a guest might like to do during their stay.

2. Build rapport with local businesses

Establishing a rapport with local businesses enables your hotel concierge to offer more when it comes to concierge services, says Hotefy:

“For instance, if your hotel services mainly business clients and holidaymakers, it’s wise to promote local relations with hired cars and taxis. Creating relationships with exclusive venues, from private gyms and country clubs to restaurants and nightclubs with great reviews can also help give your hotel the edge over competitors.”

3. Offer customer-focused packages

Hotefy recommends offering a guest-focused selection of standard packages. For example, one package may focus on day trips and another on local adventure. A hotel package focused on spa services or a curated restaurant list can also appeal to guests.

4. Hire a concierge who’s a good listener

“You can never solve a problem if you aren’t all ears,” says eZee Absolute.  The concierge must first understand exactly what the guest’s query or request is to answer their question or resolve a problem.

5. Create a list of walking distance attractions

If your hotel is in a walkable area, many hotel guests appreciate a concierge who knows all the restaurants, theaters and other venues within walking distance. This also saves guests the hassle and waiting involved with rideshare or taxi services.

6. Offer a mobile “smart” concierge

Concierge service doesn’t always have to be face to face. Your hotel can also offer “smart” personal service on a concierge app with local information and details of sightseeing, spa, restaurant and entertainment packages, says Hotefy.

What is a Les Clefs d’Or concierge?

Concierges that attain Les Clefs d’Or membership are highly respected in the hotel industry.

When hiring a concierge for your hotel, you can count on a Les Clefs d’Or concierge to offer your hotel guests an outstanding concierge and hotel experience.

Les Clefs d’Or concierges stand out in the hotel industry due to their experience, training and meeting the high standards that win them the coveted crossed golden keys pin on their lapel.

“The greatest differentiator in the world of luxury travel is a Les Clefs d’Or concierge,” said Leigh Anne Dolecky, president of Les Clefs d’Or USA in a message on its website.

“There’s a reason why only a select number of concierges earn the right to wear the world-famous ‘crossed keys,’ and that’s because we’re recognized as the very best at delivering outstanding service,” Dolecky said. “Les Clefs d’Or guests enjoy the benefits of our endless creativity and incomparable devotion to making every moment memorable.”

What makes a Les Clefs d’Or concierge different?

Before someone can become a Les Clefs d’Or concierge, they must have been in the hotel business for at least five years and worked as a concierge for at least two years. Next, they must attend at least eight of the 12 monthly regional committee meetings in a year.

Once the concierge completes those steps, they can apply to get their crossed keys, which designate their Les Clefs d’Or membership. But the process doesn’t end there.

The concierge must then go through a three-month process of being assessed by other members. They must also pass a written examination. Each November, new members are presented and approved based on a vote of the national committee.

If a Les Clefs d’Or member stops being a full-time concierge, they must return their crossed keys. Should they return to being a full-time concierge within five years, they must repeat the entire process to regain the crossed keys and once again become a Les Clefs d’Or concierge.

A Les Clefs d’Or concierge “has an eye for detail, ensuring that the stay of this guests runs smoothly from A to Z,” said Francis Bélanger, a  Les Clefs d’Or concierge at Le Germain Hotel Quebec, in an interview on the Germain Hotels Blog about what it means to be a Les Clefs d’Or concierge.

“He will accompany the guest even before his stay, as well as after his stay,” said Bélanger. “Les Clefs d’Or is an international association with a work ethic and a professionalism whose reputation is undeniable.” A Clefs d’Or concierge also has access to help from anywhere in the association’s global network.

“With a Clefs d’Or concierge, you also know that the suggestions he gives you will not be a tourist trap. We have rules to follow,” says Bélanger.

A Clefs d’Or concierge instills guest trust

“When travelers see the golden keys, they know they’re being assisted by an extraordinarily well-trained professional, according to Les Clefs d’Or USA.

“We have the skills, knowledge base, and contacts to open doors for both leisure and business travelers alike — from hidden local treasures to experiences in every corner of the world, you can count on us.”

What is Call Center Concierge Service?

Call center concierge service leads to greater customer satisfaction, reduces the number of callbacks to resolve issues and lowers operational costs.

Concierge service, which has long been a mainstay at luxury and other hotels, has now moved into other industries. For example, a health insurance company may offer concierge service to the insured where they can order fee-based, ala carte services from providers.

Many consumers also now expect concierge service at their health insurance providers, insurance companies and other industries. In a nutshell, call center concierge service allows customers to resolve issues and get answers without being transferred to other departments.

How does call center concierge service work?

“Today’s contact centers need to go far beyond stand-alone problem resolution and focus on providing personalized interactions along the customer journey,” says insurance and financial services technology provider Appian. “This requires a concierge mindset.”

Generally, with call center concierge service, the call center rep stays on the line with the customer while the agent calls the necessary department or company on the customer’s behalf to get a required authorization, reference code or other information.

“In most cases, when using concierge service, an agent calls another department or organization while the customer is on the phone and a three-way conversation occurs,” according to hospitality software provider SQM.

“Providing concierge service is an excellent opportunity for call center agents to resolve customer calls on the first call that otherwise might go unresolved.”

Call center concierge best practices include the following, according to SQM:

  • Develop a set of call center concierge service standards
  • Place greater focus on resolving calls than on average handling time (AHT)
  • Create clear call handling standards that require the call center rep to obtain the required code, authorization or other information on behalf of (or for) the customer
  • Utilize a quality assurance program and post-call customer surveys to ensure that agents are providing call center concierge service
  • Recognize agents who provide concierge service
  • Train call center reps on each fulfillment department’s needs such as claims, orders and requests
  • Hire agents that have a customer advocacy attitude and training call center reps to use that attitude to resolve customer calls

How your brand can benefit from call center concierge service

Your company can lower operating costs by focusing on call center concierge services and eliminating repeat call-backs from customers whose problems weren’t resolved with one call.

“It is more efficient to have one longer call than to have two or more calls dealing with the same inquiry or problem,” says SQM. “Customer satisfaction is substantially higher when a customer only has to make one longer call versus making repeat calls to resolve the same inquiry or problem.”

With a focus on agents on doing “whatever it takes” to resolve a customer’s call, call center service and customer satisfaction greatly improve, says SQM:

“Agents become conditioned to go the extra mile and be an advocate to help customers resolve their inquiries or problems on any type of call.

“Having agents routinely go the extra mile leads to significant improvements in the performance of the call center’s [first call resolution], [customer satisfaction], and cost per call resolution.”

6 Tips for Choosing Customer Experience Management Software

Choosing the right CXM software can help your company to achieve better customer experience management.

Does your company or organization have customer experience management (CXM or CEM) strategies in place (or on the horizon) that include customer experience management software? If so, you’ll want to have the right CXM software to achieve the best results.

What is customer experience management?

“Customer experience management is an approach to relationships with customers that goes beyond just marketing tools and software—with the goal of achieving a digital transformation that truly puts customers at the center of the business,” according to Microsoft.

“A customer experience management mindset prioritizes the orchestration and personalization of the entire end-to-end customer experience and helps to do it at scale, on any channel, in real time.”

Put another way, (CXM) is “the collection of processes a company uses to track, oversee and organize every interaction between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle,” according to Gartner, which provides guidance and insight to businesses worldwide.

Although customer experience management may overlap with customer relationship management (CRM), the key difference between the two is perspective, according to Gartner. CRM “what a customer looks like to the company” whereas CEM defines “what a company looks like to the customer,” according to Gartner.

“CEM is a strategy that puts business customers at the center of marketing, sales and customer support in order to drive brand loyalty and repeat business.”

Customer experience management tools typically include the following, according to Gartner:

  1. Customer experience management platforms that manage the customer experience from end to end. CXM platforms are based on four components:
  2. Customer relationship management (CRM), which draws data from “a variety of channels and touchpoints” so customers don’t need to repeat information.
  3. Marketing automation software that streamlines marketing efficiency and eliminates repetitive tasks.
  4. E-commerce platform that enables companies to “build an online storefront” that includes checkout, product catalogs and payment processing integration.
  5. Customer service communication through omnichannel interactions, including self-service options such as chatbots and product documentation.

“CEM programs heavily rely on the voice of customer programs that quantify customer sentiment about their experiences with a company,” says Gartner. “Over time, a CX management program will adjust elements of the customer experience that generate negative feedback to correct those perceptions.”

6 tips for choosing CXM technologies

When exploring customer experience management strategies or researching CXM technologies as part of your customer data platform (CDP),make sure the software and other technologies your brand uses meet the following criteria, according to Microsoft.

  • The technology uses real-time data to enrich customer profiles, bringing together behavioral, transaction, financial and operational data into one real-time customer profile.

“A good CXM system draws in and unifies data access from across disparate locations and lets you capture all those data points in real time,” says Microsoft. “The more unified, real-time, and connected your customer profiles are—the deeper, more actionable insights you’ll derive.”

  • CXM technology integrates with your current ecosystem through an “open and extensible” technology platform. “The technology platform should support customer experience apps, a single data model, and an open ecosystem that lets you deliver fresh, innovative experiences for your customers and sets you apart from competitors,” says Microsoft.
  • CXM technology “adapts and extends” personalization. “A good CXM system lets you continuously test and optimize personalization in real time,” says Microsoft. “It helps you build standout experiences faster and uses the next wave of intelligent software to deliver personalized content at scale.”
  • The technology software allows your company to streamline omnichannel customer journeys, including call centers, brick-and-mortar stores, email, social media, along with web and mobile apps.
  • The software has intelligent capabilities that help your brand grow. “Real-time, predictive intelligence and machine learning capabilities are the backbone to any CXM approach,” says Microsoft. “Modern artificial intelligence technologies, like CDPs, are key to help support your present needs and meet your future customer relationship goals.”
  • The CXM system helps build customer trust and protects privacy. With the proper CXM technology, your company can build customer trust while protecting sensitive, personal customer information.

“Look carefully at any CXM technology offering for robust capabilities of data privacy and security, as well as offering any help you might need with industry-specific compliance regulations,” advises Microsoft.

Three Ways to Bridge the Customer Experience “Gap”

Closing the customer experience gap is key to keeping loyal, satisfied customers.

Is your organization closing the customer experience “gap” that can send customers to your competitors if you fail to recognize those gaps and take action to fill them instead with a positive customer experience?

The customer experience (CX) gap is the space between what customers expect from their customer experience with a brand and what the brand believes about how well it’s meeting customer expectations, according to customer experience platform provider Emplifi.

“More and more, customers expect to interact with brands how they want, when they want,” says Emplifi. “In search of easier, faster, more engaging, and personalized experiences, customer expectations are continually evolving, often quicker than brands can keep up, widening the CX gap.”

The gap between customer expectations and what companies believe about expectations being met is often wide and affects more customers than you might think.

“Nearly half of consumers say brands aren’t meeting their expectations, and even fewer remember the last time a brand exceeded expectations,” according to “Closing the CX Gap,” a report from digital experience company Acquia. The report is based on survey results from 5,003 consumers and 501 marketers from five countries.

Even worse, when customers let companies know that they’re dissatisfied with services, many brands fail to resolve those customer issues to their satisfaction.

“Some 36 percent of consumers said they were not satisfied with the levels of customer service they’d received, while more than half reported that when they’d raised a customer service issue, it went unresolved,” according to “2023 Global Consumer Trends,” a global consumer report from Qualtrics XM Institute.

Here are three tips for closing the customer experience gap so that your brand meets customer expectations.

1. Examine your company culture

One common barrier that organizations face is “their own internal company culture,” which can take many forms, according to a white paper from Emplifi.

“A company culture where each department or product line is an autonomous entity can and often does result in disconnects in the customer journey and a poor experience,” says Emplifi.

“Another example is when different parts of the company (e.g., regions) purchase different technologies to accomplish the same outcome and these technologies are not integrated. Arguably the worst and most difficult to overcome is where the customer is not treated as an important part of the success of the organization.”

One of the best ways to know what the customer experience is like compared to what you believe your company delivers is to contact the company, pretend to be a customer, and have other people do the same, says Emplifi:

“Compare notes, and see where at least some of the barriers are. This will often raise cultural issues that won’t necessarily be obvious, and you can then make a plan to address them.”

 2. Look for gap indicators that lead to churn

To avoid churn due to customer experience gaps, make sure your organization pays attention to what customers are saying at every stage of their customer journey, says the Qualtrics report:

“Customers might not hold up the red flag and say ‘hey, I’m about to switch to your competitor,’ but you can bet they’ll give feedback, get in touch about their problem, or post a comment on their social media or on a review site.

“When you tune in to everything, from their very first interaction with you to every post-purchase call, comment, like, or mention, you’ll know exactly where the friction is.

3. Close customer experience gaps quickly

People are quick to switch brands when money is tight, and their tolerance for bad experiences is low. That’s why it’s important to recognize and get ahead of customer experience gaps, says the Qualtrics report:

“Many of your customers are just a tap, click, or swipe away from churning, giving you no warning that they’re about to take their business elsewhere…When all it takes is a single ad showing up in their newsfeed to get them to churn, you need to make sure they have no reason to leave.”