Destination leaders around the globe are increasingly focused on proactively understanding, developing, managing and curating the customer visitor experience.
A challenge for all destination leaders is the holistic nature of the visitor experience, and the complex characteristics of customer service interactions at a destination level. For example from the arrival experience in the airport at passport control, to the taxi ride in to town, the hotel check in experience and visit to the museums, service in a restaurant or shop the nature of customer service interactions are diverse and individual to each visitor.
The concept of the ‘end to end customer experience journey’ helps service providers understand the many ’ touch points’ that visitors to a destination have, and is helpful in trying to manage the quality of the overall destination experience. Consistently getting these right is a defining characteristic of successful destinations. Of course destination leaders cannot control the many service encounters but can strive only to create a culture of delivering the highest quality of visitor service experience across all destination stakeholders and customer experience service providers.
Customer Service Touch Points
In 1987 Jan Carlzon in his famous book ‘Moments of Truth’ identified the critical nature of customer service ‘touch points’, concluding that getting these right represents the make or break moment of the customer service experience. In the 1980’s Jan Carlzon was focused on ‘How can we get the best from our people at the moments of truth?’
Emerging information and communication technologies, and consumer use of smart digital devices and social media have transformed the nature of customer service interactions. Consequently destination leaders in our digital world when thinking of the customer experience ‘touch points’ need to pay significant attention to all ‘on-line’ customer service interactions while at the same time continuing to ensure consistent quality of face to face customer interactions.
The diagram illustrating this article is a helpful visualization of characteristics of the social media customer journey (which of course starts well before an actual physical visit to a destination and continues through on going engagement after a visit).
A helpful starting point for tourism businesses and service providers and destination leaders is to undertake ‘Customer Service Journey Mapping’ to understand all the different aspects of the end to end customer service or experience journey. Having extensive and up to date knowledge of and research on customers is vital to creating consistent high quality visitor experiences.
Many destinations have adopted the ‘Net Promoter Score’ methodology to understand how visitors are experiencing their destination. The ‘Net Promoter Score’ being based on the simple question “ Would you recommend to a peer this destination, accommodation, visitor attraction, etc…?” There are significant opportunities from digital sources for detailed real time feedback and customer insights for individual tourism businesses and destination leaders.
These are exciting times for Scottish tourism and destinations, and they require new ways of thinking about the customer visitor experience, and there are many opportunities for destination leaders to capitalize on new technologies and smart digital devices as a tool (but not an alternative to service quality excellence in face to face customer experience) to enhance the end to end customer journey to maintain competitive advantage.