In today’s landscape, customer retention and customer loyalty are dependent on delivering a smooth experience which always meets expectations. Whilst exceeding expectations ensures strong customer satisfaction and advocacy, when expectations are not met this results in high risk of customer disengagement and churn.
My recent experience with the Hilton Honors loyalty program is a prime example of a program which has set my expectations high and failed to deliver, something no business can afford to do, especially not in the very competitive and very homogenised hotel loyalty program arena.
Given Hilton Honors have set the standard in terms of their app with it’s hyper-personalisation and ease-of-use, I was extremely optimistic about the convenience it could provide me on my upcoming stay, acting as a digital room key – this feature allows members to check-in on the app and also use it as a room-key alleviating the need to go to reception at all.
I requested my digital key from within the app as directed:
But was unfortunately told to visit the front desk, defeating the purpose for which this feature was created.
After inquiring about this at reception, I was told that that only members within the top two tiers of the program, could use their digital key without identifying themselves at reception first – something which directly conflicts the information published online.
What makes this experience even more memorable in the ‘not meeting expectations’ department is my digital key was never actually able to be activated, even after 2 visits to the reception desk, due to technical difficulties.
The gap between what a customer expects and what they receive is at the core of most complaints and when expectations are not met, this almost always leads to disengagement. Loyalty programs, and businesses as a whole cannot afford to under-deliver experiences especially in the current competitive environment where brand loyalty is hard to come by.
Mind the gap, Hilton Honors.
Stacey has a wealth of experience within loyalty, marketing and eCommerce across multiple channels and business models including Boost Juice, ModelCo and MyHouse. Most recently, Stacey has been managing the investor, member and retailer communications for blockchain loyalty company EZToken Rewards, as well as taking the lead on designing, developing, implementing and operationalising Resident Rewards, a new member benefits program for Lendlease.
Stacey is a proud pioneer of women in blockchain and attends meet-ups regularly. She built the website www.blockchainloyalty.io and regularly contributes content.