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AutoPoint Blog

Give the customers what they want.

Posted by Hilary Biggart Tuesday, May 10, 2016

This is the second installment in a weekly series on uncommon tech innovations and implementations across all industries. Get an inside look at how other companies have changed their brands, their sales, and their retention through digital and mobile tech.

You’ve stayed in hotels. You know how they traditionally work. You book your stay through a travel agent, a discount site, or by searching for a hotel in the area and calling them directly. You arrive and wait in line to check in. You use a plastic key card to get in your room throughout your stay, and you wait in line again to check out when you leave.

Marriott looked at how hotels, including theirs, traditionally worked and they decided to do it differently. They recognized that customers want more than clean rooms and a friendly face at the door. They don’t expect hotels to meet their expectations—they demand hotels to exceed them.

So how could Marriott appeal to their customer base and deliver an experience unlike anywhere else? The answer is mobile tech.

Put it all on the phone.

Customers are more attached to their mobile devices than ever before. They use mobile devices more than desktop computers, and they increasingly prefer digital interactions over face-to-face transactions. We’re not just talking about millennials either—all customers are getting more involved with mobile.

So to transform their customer experience, Marriott looked to their mobile app. They set out to create an end-to-end experience all from the surface of a smartphone, so their customers could reserve rooms, check in, use their rooms, and check out without ever waiting in line at a desk or looking at a travel site.

The Marriott app as you know it today lets you look for hotels in the area, book rooms, and check in without ever seeing a human face. You can use your phone as your room key and check out through the app. If you do need some human help during your stay, the front desk is just a tap away. Whichever Marriott hotel you stay in, the ultra-personalized experience of your own smartphone stays the same.

What can we learn?

The most notable lesson of Marriott’s app innovation is to react to customer preferences and innovate accordingly. If customers want their experience through a phone, then you’ll benefit from giving the people what they want.

However, even though you can go a whole stay at a Marriott without ever talking to a human, Marriott still understands that a phone doesn’t replace the human touch—it enhances it. One benefit of branded apps is they put your people closer to your customers. If a Marriott customer wants to call the front desk, they just tap a button in the app. If your customers want to reach a service advisor or the salesperson they’ve been working with, that link for contact should be at the tips of their fingers.

Constant connection doesn’t just mean constant digital connection—it means easy access to your people as well.

Marriott’s example shows us that technology offers a unique way to meet customer needs and exceed expectations, without sacrificing the personal touch. An end-to-end customer experience app isn’t costing you face-to-face interactions—it’s transforming them into something else far more beneficial for your company: loyal, retained customers. 

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